Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saving the World

I finished reading La’s Orchestra Saves the World, by Alexander McCall Smith, last night just before I went to bed. I am still thinking about the book this morning. I teared up in a couple of places, and I am not sure I could explain to someone why. We are so disconnected from our spirits, from that undercurrent of feeling and meaning that is so vital to us. La’s small actions during WWII, like taking care of her neighbor’s chickens and forming an orchestra, helped keep people whole and gave them the vital energy to continue on when the present looked bleak and the future was in doubt.

Yesterday I received a Facebook post in which the sender said she was broken. I was alarmed and sent a post of concern. Later on I realized that she probably meant that she was financially broke because she had spent too much money. I felt like a dweeb, misinterpreting an idiom. But maybe I wasn’t wrong. In the last few decades depression has become epidemic. Autism rates are staggering. Now millions of people are “broke.” I believe that our thoughts affect our world. Maybe this is farfetched for some people to believe.

We so desperately need wholeness. We need to feel connected to each other and the world on a deep level. How do we do that? Perhaps by praying and meditating. Perhaps by demonstrating small kindness. I have been in a deep, deep depression. This morning I realized that I felt “broken.” What has kept me going were the small kindness: a neighbor coming over with some things from her pantry that she couldn’t use, two neighbors snow-blowing the sidewalks after a major snowfall, a woman from church giving me her left over socks, a friend buying me a piece of dessert. People do many grand gestures and communicate many profound thoughts, but the small actions are what ultimately save or break the world.

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