A few days ago for the first time, I noticed a Gandhi quote in a friend's classroom: “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Sometimes I focus on the dirty drops- I am pessimistic. I despair. When I am in optimist mode, I see the beauty of the ocean, the abundant goodness that surrounds me, both in humanity and in life.
A couple days ago I got a flat tire. It happened in front of my house, so it wasn't a big deal. When I told my mom about it, she said, "Boy, when it rains, it pours." I couldn't imagine what she was talking about until she reminded me of my kitchen that's been without a ceiling for about 2 months and some other thing that recently went wrong that for the life of me I can't remember right now. I was clearly in optimist mode, because the various issues really just felt like small dirty drops in the ocean of abundant goodness. No big deal. And in the grand scheme of things, they're not a big deal.
I don't have a ceiling, but I do have a roof and my kitchen is well-stocked with food. My tire went flat, but I live a block from a bus line. Though I was ready to to take the bus to school, my dad offered to drive me to school, and he woke up earlier than usual to do so. Thanks, Dad!
There are times when I feel overwhelmed by schoolwork. Then I remember that I am so fortunate to have a job, one that is fulfilling and, I hope, adds to the beauty, rather than the dirt of the ocean. One student told me the other day that he hopes he can make a difference in the world. His desire is one more drop to add to the beauty...Another student wrote a beautiful and unexpected essay reflecting on The Freedom Writers Diary, a book that we have just finished reading...another beautiful drop. May there be many more.