‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ Margaret Mead
I often really struggle with this idea of doing things in groups. I spent the whole of my school career trying to avoid working in groups with other people; it just got frustrating – people didn’t agree, nothing every really got accomplished and someone always ended up crying. But the idea of doing stuff together is actually really powerful. When it comes to living out a life of justice, togetherness really matters.
I sometimes get caught up in the ‘lone ranger’ feeling – that if I really want to change the world then I should just get on with it myself. This often has a really positive effect on my lifestyle. I feel passionate about making ethical choices, so I only buy Fairtrade and second-hand clothes. I want to make a difference when it comes to global poverty, so I give regularly to Tearfund to see a community in Peru changed. I even recycle my old books and CDs, all for the love of the environment. But when I step back and take a look at this stuff that I do on my own, I’m hit by several realities. The first is that that my sphere of influence is relatively small. Secondly, I lack the support of others, a reassurance that someone’s rooting for me. And more than anything, I’m missing out on the buzz of a group of people passionately united for a cause. I lack energy.
This is where togetherness kicks in for me. When we share what we do, we pass the baton of ‘living different’ on to someone else. We have the opportunity to see our passions take hold in their life, so the impact of the action is increased as it reaches further than just ourselves. Networks of people who are committed to supporting each other begin to form, communities that live and breathe an infectious enthusiasm for changing the world one step at a time. We tap into that deep, spiritual reality that we are better together.
Doing things together isn’t limited to organising events in a group or gathering vast quantities of people for a peace march. When we share justice-conscious actions with our friends and family we start to build little habits of fun. Maybe you love clothes shopping, so you and friend spend time together trawling around the charity shops searching for a bargain. Maybe you’re crazy about music, so you put on a fundraiser that means you get to raise money for a poverty-related cause and rock out at the same time. We can speak new life into our world by doing the stuff we love together in a way that benefits the last, the least and the lost.
When we grab hold of togetherness we form dynamic communities that inspire others to live a different way. These communities are driven by a desire that our lives would really count towards shaping a new world that tramples out injustice. We are groups of people that spend our time dreaming up extraordinary ways of living an ordinary life. This is so much more powerful than one individual acting alone, and it’s easier to keep motivation going when we feel like we’re part of something much bigger than ourselves. ‘Together’ is sometimes more challenging than ‘alone’; but it unlocks a potential much greater than one mind could ever imagine.