On the door of my office is a poster, given to me by a colleague, of Gandhi’s famous quote:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I was thinking about that quote today as I thought about a young man I know who is serving in the Peace Corps halfway around the world. A long way from home as the holidays approach. Maybe I am projecting my own past and experience on him when I imagine him making the decision to enter the Peace Corps because he wanted to make a difference. He wanted to, in some small way, change the world. But as I thought about it this afternoon, I realized that is not what Gandhi said. He didn’t say be the change you want to see in the world in order to change the world. He simply said “be the change.” In some way, large or small, live what you can see or imagine or dream for this world in which we live.
Be the change regardless if the world around you changes.
Be the change regardless if others “see the light” and follow your lead.
Be the change regardless if others understand or agree.
Thomas Merton wrote something like:
“If you want to see peace in the world first be at peace with yourself. Then, you will know that there is at least some peace in the world.” Maybe the same is true of that change we want to see. When we begin to live it then, despite what seems to swirl around us, that change is present. And, real. And, matters.