They tell me to vote, to speak, to write, to shout, to act. However, I am but a grain of sand, a wave in the vast blue-green of the ocean. I have no power over those that hold greater might. I have no weaponry, no wealth, and no strength to wield. I am but a cog in a giant machine. I am a drone, a worker, a peon, and a pupil. I learn only what I am taught. Those who instruct me, invest in me, also intentionally inhibit me. I am a slave, enslaved. As industrialists capitalize on me, the commodity of a free enterprise system, I waver at their whim.
I cannot be bothered to express myself, to march, to protest, to join hands with my fellow American. I cannot care for those that live on the other side of the planet. Nor do I have reason to think about them, the impoverished or ill miles away. I live in fear as I attempt to control the chaos that is my life.
I make decisions so that I might survive. No one takes care of me. I take no handouts, not that they are offered. If they were, I would stand proud; say no. I must remain strong or appear to be. However, I do understand my life lies in the balance. All is tenuous. In a moment I might be stricken with a terminal infirmity, one that I can ill afford financially or emotionally. Intellectually, I accept, I toil as I must. Security is a hope and excellence is but a dream. A turn in the wind might cause my demise. My existence is sustained from paycheck to paycheck. Thus, I must remain vigilant. "Self" is my primary interest.
Organizations ask for charity. Associations demand that I give. I have no allegiance, other than to myself. I cannot extend to those who do not provide for my needs. Family may free me to serve beyond my reach. Yet, they also hinder my truer success. They are a burden, the beauty. My loved ones give me reason to live. Hence, I spill blood; I sweat and I tear to secure the sanity of self.
Give, grant you my time, bequeath my voice with vigor, why? I forget what I never knew or had reason to understand. I am not one. I am not alone. It is not I against them. My will is as potent as theirs.
My family and I are more than a fraction. I am, we, are part of a whole. Without us, there is no strength, for potency is a joint venture.
No power, no millionaires, billionaires, and no business prosper without us, the little ones who support them through either our apathy or our actions. We are the people! If we remain silent we are puppets and pawns.
I am more than a buyer, more than an employee. I am one with the ability to articulate. I have a mind, a heart, and a soul. I can speak, think, and do. I choose to allow what is, or to advance the change I wish to see. I am more than me. I am part of this planet, the universe. When I share, I have influence. I am more than one.
When I reach out and share my sorrow the world may only whisper in acknowledgement. However, the story I tell travels through the universe. One person tells another. The next narrates the yarn ever so well. He mouths the missive. She states the obvious. They hear the hidden. Together we become the strength, we always were; yet never accepted.
When I serve my fellow man to the extent I might, I bestow a sense of benevolence that moves like a wave. There is energy is each small gesture. The momentum builds. Please let us each lend a hand, write a letter, share a moment, and give voice to what ails our brethren and us. Let us begin to heal a nation, a world that wails out in pain. Goodness and growth begin with you and me together.
"I heard a nice little story the other day," Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.
"Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He's enjoying the wind and the fresh air -- until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore."
"'My God, this is terrible,' the wave says 'Look what's going to happen to me!'"
"Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, 'Why do you look so sad?'"
"The first wave says, 'You don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't it terrible?'"
"The second wave says, 'No, you don't understand. You're not a wave, you're part of the ocean.'"
I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.
"Part of the ocean," he says. "Part of the ocean." I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.