“Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
– Desmond Tutu
I was talking to one of my best friends from college on the phone the other night. She’s pursuing her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Vanderbilt and spent several minutes telling me about the research she’s conducting on a protein found in the human body, work that will likely prevent and cure cancer. The work she’s doing on an all-but-invisible molecular level to fix the mutations that spawn tumors will have an enduring effect on the scientific community, and contribute to saving countless lives.
Her small, localized work will make a global difference, and I found myself thinking how grateful I am that there are people who are called to these very necessary duties.
It’s easy to think that the people who invest their talents and skills into doing something so literally life-changing are the only ones doing important work.
What I actually heard in the words dog-piling themselves on each other in their haste to escape her excited soul was the voice of someone who had been called to a particular line of work, and who was pursuing it with untrammeled vigor and heart.
And that’s all of us, isn’t it? All of us ordinary people who live ordinary lives and do small things with great love, things that others may likely never see or appreciate, for something far greater than ourselves, because we are called to do those things.
And I can promise you this: whether you’re working in a lab, or you’re cooking dinner for your family, or you’re engaging tirelessly in a creative pursuit that few apart from your immediate family and friends will ever see, or you’re struggling to launch a small business, or you’re speaking words of kindness and compassion to someone going through a tough time, if your work, any work, is breathing life into someone else’s existence – even if it’s just one person! – you are making a difference. You are doing important work. And you are living out your calling in this life.
We are all doing small work. But it’s all that small work put together that has the power to overwhelm the world – and yes, change it.
Let us all do our little bits of good. And let’s all go change the world.
This article originally appeared here.