Struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people

Thomas Merton:

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not, perhaps, results opposite to what you expect.

As you get used to this idea of your work achieving nothing, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there, too, a great deal has to be gone through, as, gradually, you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.

What I find most beautiful about this lately is that if, by chance, someone’s heart is newly opened to the joy of nonviolence, stewardship, social justice, sustainability, etc. it would be their opportunity and their task to bring forward whatever creativity they had for turning that love into action—within the context of their “one wild and precious life” (to quote Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day).

They may even come up with entirely new ways of living in meaningful relationship with nature and each other. How much better than giving someone a shortlist of things that "count" as contributing to climate action.

KellieWorking assumptions