A friend recently questioned being involved in efforts to end genocide because, “you can’t end genocide.” As genocide continues, in a sense, one could say that statement appears to be accurate. Yet it is the starfish story that immediately came to mind. Even within the regions where mass atrocities remain ongoing, time and time again, many lives have been saved by the efforts of a dedicated few who have continued to stay engaged over the long haul.
We crave instant gratification, but we will miss many opportunities to bring significant beneficial change to this world if we insist on it. History is filled with examples where “faith in the unseen” was the only source of encouragement as long-term commitment was required in order to bring about the desired result. There will be times we do not get to see the benefit of our actions even within our lifetime and that doesn’t mean our efforts have been wasted. As Ubuntu emphasizes humanity’s interconnectedness, our connection is also to those who lived before us, and to those who will be here after our death.
We are given many choices in this life. It is within the tiny moment to moment decisions we make that will cumulatively create the path we walk. These choices matter. The way we live our life matters. Seeking to do whatever it takes to keep an open heart, preserve sound judgment, pursue wisdom and increase our ability to be compassionate is a daunting challenge. This is the responsibility we share and will require that we support and encourage one another along the way. We will need to learn to be kind more often, forgiving of ourselves and one another as we inevitably fail time and time again.
We know we can “make a difference for that one.” Together we must also hold hope that somehow, over time, within that which is unseen, it is the many that will benefit.
Barbara English is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Certified Bioenergetic Therapist with over 20 years of experience. She is the Executive Director of Living Ubuntu, a non‐profit organization founded in response to her concern about the effects of mass trauma on populations around the globe. Much of her training has centered on Early Development, Infant Mental Health, and how to recover after abuse or trauma. She is a 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow with Genocide Intervention Network.