“Yes, I can help.”
11 November, 2015
Occasionally, I am hit by a wave of my own inconsequentiality.
When I become indignant by a peer’s actions, or when I am praised by a teacher, I am a protagonist and not a detail. In these moments, I contain multitudes, like the speaker in Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”; I am infinite, like the character Charlie from Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Alone, however, I realize how small I am in the larger scheme of humanity. I am a fifteen year old girl whose name, just like those of billions who have made marks upon human history, will become forgotten in a century at best. Eventually, inevitably, my footprint will be lost in the stampedes of future generations.
How can I compare myself to the greatest humanitarians? I cannot be Mother Teresa, or Oskar Schindler, or Malala Yousafzai. Mother Teresa did not worry about Chemistry tests; Oskar Schindler did not fight for bathrooms with his sister; Malala Yousafzai does not get food stuck in her braces. My contributions to humanity are so trivial compared to their legendary actions.
Then, I remember my multitudes and my infinity, and their appearance when my actions, great or small, affect those around me. I am immortal through the spirit of giving. Although my name shall be forgotten, I must help in however way I can. My individual actions may not be remembered, but by contributing my soul to the collective soul of humanity, I alter the history of the communities around me in a way that cannot be forgotten.
So, although I may not be Mother Teresa, or Oskar Schindler, or Malala Yousafzai, yes; I too can help. I too must help.