The rabbit was rooted to the spot, its eyes caught in the car’s headlights. Meeeewow, the car rolled on oblivious to the carnage, and the rest is history! Such is the overwhelming scale of need in today’s world and the detailed information fired at us, we can end up paralysed like that rabbit and end up doing nothing. Coronavirus: statistics, dos and don’ts; Economy melt-down; Poverty; Biodiversity Conservation, Global Warming and Local Chilling news; Refugees and Human Trafficking, etc, etc, etc…
Neil Postman’s aid-memoire ‘LIAR’ stands for ‘Low Information Action Ratio.‘
The fallacy and lie that, ‘the more information received, the better equipped we are to respond’ – not so! Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer comes in handy here,
This is not to say we shouldn’t be disturbed and shocked about events in our world and neighbourhood, rather that we must be careful to focus on needs we ‘can’ make a difference with, whether it be praying, petitioning, financially giving, visiting, practically helping or whatever we really can do.
As our church buildings (Fullarton Connexions) open to limited groups, Sunday 10.30 service and a Tuesday Community Café (10.30am – 1.30pm), we’re doing what we can in person, while continuing our online presence and virtual community. There are moments, like ploughing through a 57 page ‘do’s & don’ts’ dozier for opening our buildings, when we’ve been tempted to throw arms in the air and give up. Homing in on local things we CAN do, like opening a new ‘CAP Debt Centre’ and joining with Irvine’s Community Centres to create a ‘Food Larder’ to combat Food Poverty, are some achievable things we’re aiming for. I recently took my Aunt Ilse’s funeral in Southampton. On the way home we popped into Shrewsbury and were encouraged by the steps they are taking to ‘bounce back’ as town and community.
Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated, mesmerised, bamboozled and paralysed by the sheer magnitude of bad news and million things you might do to make a difference. Let yourself be guided and led to see what straightforward, down-to-earth things you CAN do. Don’t let LIAR con or snooker you. Let’s bounce back and each make the small difference we can in our community. You can make a difference!
“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a tiny bird asked a wild dove.
“Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer.
“In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story,” the tiny bird said. “I sat on the branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk, when it began to snow. Not heavily, not in a raging blizzard. But just like in a dream, without a wind, without any violence. I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd flake dropped onto the branch, ‘nothing more than nothing’ as you say, the branch broke off.”
Having spoken, the tiny bird flew away.
The dove, thought about the story for a while, and finally said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for change to come to the world.”