Lent Day 16: Do the Best You Can Where You Are

We are all complicit in the world in which we live. Unless we live completely off the grid, self-sustaining, and 100% independent of anyone else, we are complicit in what US culture (or global culture for that matter) has become. Wealth is made on the backs of the poorest and neediest. We criticize even those who try to make a difference. Perhaps because they aren’t making a big enough difference in our opinions. Or maybe they aren’t making the right difference in the right way.

What I learned in a succession of strange and serendipitous interactions today is that we each have to do the best we can to live our lives in a way that we can live with the choices we make, in a way that we can live with ourselves, in a way that we can look at ourselves in the mirror and not feel ashamed.

For some people, that way of living may be completely and totally morally reprehensible to someone else. For example, my Starbucks habit may make Fair Trade only coffee drinkers cringe. Someone else’s insistence on wearing Nike (or insert other brand) tennis shoes may perk up my sensors for labor abuse. People may look at my Mac and curse my choices, and I may see their copy of The Purpose Driven Life and question were those profits are going. Each of us has a commodity-related Achilles heel. Each of us has a love (or necessity) that is bound up in immoral and unethical practices.

But, if each us will do his or her little part to make the world a more ethical place, instead of continually judging each other for what we’re not doing, then we will see much ethical and moral growth. With each person making small strides, together we’re making great strides, right? I realize this is a little more pie-in-the-sky hopeful and optimistic—and even quite a bit cheesier, possibly a bit preachier—than my usual posts, but we have to start somewhere. If we start somewhere, it’s better than simply sitting around finger pointing, right? Right?

Now I’m respectfully stepping off the soap box.


A good portion of the beauty of today (and every day) was in simplicity.

A Twin-Yolked Egg and Yummy Bacon

Little Purple Spring Flowers Growing Up Among the Brown Leaves

A Bridge I Walk Past Every Day, But It Looked Especially Artistic Today

Cod Fish Stir Fry

A Man Fishing, But I Am Not Sure He Caught Anything

Kayaking the White River: Looking at the Ball Mansions

“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”—Toni Morrison in Rita Dove’s Grace Notes

I, too, always feel as if I am trying to get back to where I was. In a way, we are all trying to get back to where we were.

4 responses to “Lent Day 16: Do the Best You Can Where You Are

  1. Observant you are. Truly, all of us are finding our way Home, though different people take different paths. 🙂

  2. Interesting. Gotta be your devil’s advocate, though: When my small strides, head down, crash into your small strides, head down, we clonk heads. There’s where the problems start. But you’re right–we can’t fix everything, and harping on what others fail to fix zaps our energy and does no one any good. And on top of that, my new Keurig, bought because Tom really wanted it and he never really asks for anything except good beer and cigars, is so wasteful I cringe with every cup of contradiction coffee. There’s all that packaging, harmful and plasticky, holding my fair trade coffee now. So I got the thingie that lets you use your own coffee (and mine, of course, is fair trade, grown and harvested by Peruvian women farmers). But I can’t get the coffee I put in the thingie to make a really good cup of coffee. Alas! (You see my point, which is the same as yours. We get hung up on the little things and fail to enjoy, say, that a piece of less-than-green equipment in my kitchen can ease the life of a blind man.)

  3. Well, I was envisioning that we’d be taking small strides with our heads up, so we can see and attempt to understand what the small strides are that others are taking. For example, some people might be put off by the waste of the Keurig, but I can imagine that the plastic waste is a huge trade off for making Tom happy, and I can see the efforts you are going to to offset the waste. I think we’re saying similar things but in different ways. People make decisions everyday that on the surface look “wrong” or “unethical” or “immoral,” but there are so many back stories. I guess what I would like to see is a place where we don’t have to explain the back stories for all of our actions, where we can just trust that other people are trying to make the world a better place. I know, I know. Pie in the sky idealism. But wouldn’t it be great if we all just did our share and didn’t have to police each other toward our own ideas of wholeness and wellness.

  4. Also, thanks for much for the challenge. This Lent I’m being stretched so much by your words and the gauntlet you threw down! 🙂

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