“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Charles Dickens
The world appears out of control at times. This feeling I have happens more often now, particularly because of the relentless news about walls being built to separate people, countries breaking away from or bullying others, attacks, and fear mongering. The polarizing narrative is persistent and prevalent and comes from leaders (and I use this term very loosely) who have forgotten their job is to rise above the rhetoric and expect better and more of all citizens. The lack of meaningful dialogue and debate, not to mention moral leadership is frightening.
And yet this week I was reminded again of how any one of us can make a difference in another person’s life.
Maritsa Mavrapidi died this week. She was a ninety-year-old woman who along with her friends in 2015 reached out to help the thousands of refugees who ended up on the island of Lesvos seeking asylum. A photographer captured a picture of Maritsa holding and bottle-feeding a baby while the child’s mother changed into dry clothes after enduring the perilous rubber boat ride from Turkey to Lesvos.
A journalist asked Maritsa why she’d helped these strangers. “If I can do something good, why not do it?” she responded.
Yes, why not indeed. It’s a question a few world leaders and really all of us should ask ourselves every single day, because like Maritsa we don’t have to wait for leaders or anyone else to make the world a better place. We can do it ourselves, one person at a time.
The world lost someone special this week, but her question remains for us to ponder.
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