I Stand at the Door by Sam Shoemaker is my favorite poem. Google it. The poem moves me to help people more than any other I’ve ever read. Sam Shoemaker was one of the pioneers of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. would have never become what it has become without Shoemaker’s influence. His poem is subtitled “An Apologia for my Life.”

Apologia is not a word I use very often. It means purpose, reason, or apology. As I think back about what I do and where my vision came from, I am reminded of something a professor said in a class. I’d like to think it is an “Apologia for my Life.” The story absolutely changed my worldview and gave me my paradigm for helping people in need. Maybe the conclusion of it will give you an apologia for your life.

My major professor in graduate school told me of his first trip to Calcutta to deliver a few thousand pounds of grain. He was overwhelmed with the poverty there, as he literally had to step over dead bodies on the street. He felt so small and his help seemed so insignificant. As he was looking down at the ground filled with despair, he saw his mentor running down the street toward him. He looked so happy that it was like he was gliding on air. He was elated to have been able to help. My professor was totally overwhelmed with the magnitude of the situation and the smallness of their assistance. But then his mentor told him—“People are born one at a time, people live one at a time, and people die one at a time. You have to start somewhere with someone.”

What can you do? The COVID-19 pandemic seems overwhelming. It is not a few countries—it is the world. Can you really make a difference? Yes, you can. You can sponsor a child. You can give some food or water. You can start somewhere with someone.