My daughter, Madison, shared with me her current favorite mantra: “My job is not to move the boulder; my job is just to push the boulder.”
This quote, like most real wisdom, is deeper than the simplicity of its surface. And its genesis is beautiful…
A young man recently graduated from high school in the American South and went away to college in another city. Like many young people, this young man had been strongly influenced by his family; but unlike many young people, his family were firmly ensconced in the Klu Klux Klan.
Once this young man got to the new city where his college was, he felt the uncomfortable uncertainty all of us have felt in a new environment. But there was a another family in that college community that came to know about him and simply invited him for dinner. This family happened to be Jewish.
Over the course of years, this Jewish family invited this young Klansman into their home and eventually to Shabbat dinners, and over time the young Klansman’s heart changed toward those who are different than he. His hate melted away.
On a recent podcast, the interviewer asked a member of the Jewish family how she recognized that this young man might be open to change. “I didn’t,” she replied, “but our job is not to move the boulder; our job is only to push the boulder.”
And so it is with you and me. There are SO many things in our worlds that we cannot control – most things actually. Almost everything we touch is a boulder – out of our control to move. But beautiful things happen when we only push. Not every time, not every person. But enough times to make it a beautiful effort.