It is all too easy to fucus on things that you don’t have or to create reasons why you aren’t doing anything with your life. We tend to blame circumstances for our inability to be satisfied or lament that if only we were somewhere else things would be better. Just stop it. Instead heed the advice of Squire Bill Widener – “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Squire Bill was a prominent community figure in Widener’s Valley, Virginia, who served not only as a miller but also as a millwright, Confederate soldier, teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, Justice of the Peace, and spiritual advisor. It appears that Squire Bill followed his own advice and served the community as provider, teacher and friend. Widener’s quote is often mistakenly attributed to Teddy Roosevelt.
Wrapped up in that little quote are several important thoughts:
Stop wasting time thinking about not being able to solve world hunger or worrying about global warming and feed one needy person in your neighborhood or make one personal change to your lifestyle to lessen your negative impact on the environment. Use what you have and give what you have. Remember the story that Jesus told in Mark 12: 41–44 of the poor widow in the temple who gave her last two copper coins as an offering and how that was more than the lavish gifts of the rich. She did not sit there wishing that she had more, she just did what she could do with what she had. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
The one thing that you have that is more precious than money is your time. Giving of your time to volunteer at a local community non-profit is often worth more to them than dropping a few bucks in a bucket or writing them a check. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to get done to turn those donations of money into actions that help the disadvantaged in the community. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
While we see nightly stories of disasters elsewhere or pictures of starving people in foreign lands there are many homeless and hungry people right in our own neighborhoods. You need not travel to find places where you can help; just look around you where you are. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
At the end of your day or the end of your life, don’t sit there lamenting what you coulda, woulda, shoulda done. Instead – Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Have an impactful and meaningful week ahead. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.