The power of your square metre

What is changing the world, and can I, in my small reality, change it?

Mum, I can’t do anything to change the world. So began a dinnertime conversation with one of my sons.

And at university, many of the young people I talk to, when asked what mark they want to leave or what they intend to do with their lives and the lives of others, I often come across the same answer: “I can’t do anything significant”.

But what is changing the world, and can I, in my small reality, change it?

This is a question we should all travel with because it makes our life and its meaning, transcend more than just accumulating time, material things, or desires. And we may be living in such an automatic way that we stop looking up at ourselves to see only what is mine, what is immediate and superficial.

Our materialistic world bases happiness on having. In many of the university counselling sessions, when the question of what is your goal in life or why are you studying this career, the answer is: to earn money, buy a house, travel a lot, and then have a family.

The order of importance of things and what happens to them is reversed: my goal is money, that’s why I’m studying and why I’ll work tomorrow. And the consequence, if I succeed, will be to have a family, after having done a lot of things in between. When the family, that home and refuge where you are loved unconditionally, should not be the ultimate consequence of a lot of things that must come before.

So, with this mentality in which the main driver of the world is money, material things and the accumulation of experiences and things, it is difficult to think of being able to change it, because how to do it if I don’t have “wealth”?

How to make an impact if I am not important because I don’t have business success or many millions in the bank? That can only be done by a few” is, then, a very logical answer.

And so we can live an empty life. To be instead of living life by letting life live you because what is it to have a lot of money? Where is the limit of our desires based only on the material?

The lack of transcendence; that numbing of the spiritual dimension of people; that being glued to the world, makes life meaningless when the dream job that is going to give us a lot of money and prestige does not come. Faced with this job insecurity, with the endless number of unplanned events or even problems that we encounter, we give up and throw up our arms, giving way to despair.

How to look up, how to realise what is important, how to give hope and meaning to life?

These are very big and challenging questions, but they have a small or better, simple answer: I am helped by thinking big to do small.

Big desires and wishes. Desire for something more, often very big, but doing and focusing on the small. Understood as that square metre of each of us. That place in your daily life where you can make an impact: starting with your family and moving on to the rest of the realities of your life: your university, your work, your group of friends, your parish.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke of the value of “small things”, of small things done with great love, and how a stone thrown into the water causes many ripples.

And the fact is that life, routine, every day is full of small things. Simple things, sometimes very simple, that have immense power.

Things that if you were asked about, you would hear the phrase “you can’t pay for this with money”. And how true that is because what is the price of an “I love you” or a kiss given with love?

When you manage to “realise” these priceless things, life begins to have meaning and hope.

And you may even come, as happened to me, to ask yourself what real poverty is. Because you have asked yourself, what is it to be poor? Or, on the contrary, what do you consider yourself rich in?