“I want to do my part,” she said with earnest, “but with so much unraveling taking place across the planet, I wonder if I can do anything.”
The sage nodded with understanding, “Going in with eyes wide open isn’t cynicism,” he said. “Nor is having severe misgivings about doing your part a sign of hopelessness. What if wanting to do your part despite raging wildfires, upending hurricanes, vitriolic conflicts, and violence inflicted on the most vulnerable is evidence of something more tangible…such as an awakening?”
“Isn’t everyone awake?” she replied.
At this, the wizened old man shook his head sadly. “No,” he said. “The awakening I speak of asks something of us. To be awake is to ‘wake up in this world instead of waiting for the next.’  It is choosing to do your part, however small and insignificant that may seem at the time.”
“But what if others resent it when I do my part?” she responded. “Giving lip service to exercising one’s conscience is one thing. But advocating for those on the margins – the poor, the indigent, the migrant, the homeless, and the welfare of our planet – can get you into trouble. Some are so angry they only see things in terms of winning and losing.”
At this, the sage smiled. “My dear child, if you get into trouble for doing what the conscionable thing to do is, what is the just, the compassionate, and the merciful thing to do, then you will be keeping company with the likes of Francis of Assisi, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King, Jr.” He then added, “Their own awakening meant they had to do their part – however difficult their task and misunderstood they were in their time.” 
“Besides,” he added, “you won’t be alone no matter the obstacles. For you will keep company with the saints, the prophets, and the activists who have gone before you and those who stand with you now.”
Closing Prayer: Divine Maker, in the face of so much uncertainty and despair, summon me to keep company with the least of these. Teach me that by doing my part, however seemingly insignificant, I will join those who have been let in on the big divine secret. That to exercise one’s conscience despite the cost – bestows that most paradoxical of blessings – which is to receive the coming of the Lord.  We offer this in all the holy names of God. Amen.
 Center for Action and Contemplation
 Matthew 24:42