Editorial: Little by Little
by Kevin Sims
Little by Little
ANOTHER New Year, another batch of resolutions ready to be broken! Just a thought – if I resolve not to make any resolutions, have I failed before I start?
One resolution I used to make almost every year was to keep a diary. How great it would be, I thought, to keep a record of everything interesting that happened in my life so that, in years to come, I wouldn’t have to rely on my all-too-unreliable memory.
It was a winner – in theory. The reality was that I’d sit down on New Year’s Day and not think of anything to write. ‘I’ll do it tomorrow,’ I’d think to myself, and that was the end of my good intentions.
Thank goodness, then, for the resolve of someone like Major Molly Shotzberger, whose diary of her time with a Salvation Army team in Iraq makes compelling reading in this issue.
From the moment I read it I knew I wanted to publish Molly’s journal in All the World. It does everything I want an article to do. The diary not only presents facts and figures but also gives a sense of what life in Iraq is really like, as viewed through the eyes of Molly. It gives the reader a chance to empathise not just sympathise.
To me, this is an important consideration and it’s something I always seek to emphasise to anyone who writes for the magazine.
We humans need to be able to relate to things, to have them put in ways we can understand and appreciate. In a report about war, if you mention thousands of casualties it all seems unreal. Talk or write about a single family where the parents have had to watch while their children become malnourished, fall ill and die and suddenly it becomes a situation anyone can relate to.
Jesus would have made a great writer for All the World. His parables are wonderful examples of telling a small story to give the big picture.
And for those of us who feel a little inadequate because we’re not feeding, healing or housing thousands of people, there’s another lesson too. Every individual is important. If you can help improve the life of just one person – a friend, family member or a complete stranger – you’re moving in the right direction. Your little story can be a significant part of a much bigger picture – and to the person you’ve helped, your little story could make a whole world of difference.
Perhaps I’ll allow myself one resolution after all – to go beyond good intentions and actually make a world of difference to someone, somewhere.