The butterfly effect. Or why everything we do is important.

One of the most read posts ever on this blog is one I wrote in late February entitled “What do you do with all the despair?”

In it, I describe the fact that I choose to live in a bubble in order to shield myself from the wall to wall despair that the media chooses to unload on us on a daily basis. My heart just can’t cope with it all, yet I feel a little selfish in taking that approach. The many comments beneath my despair post showed that I am not alone in pondering this conundrum.

Last week one of my favourite writers ninja kicked her way out of her bubble, took a deep breath and exposed herself to a level of despair most of us can’t even comprehend. If you’ve not come across Eden before, I don’t think I have seen her better described in one line than by Nat:

A straight shooting, compassionate woman, who writes like an angel with the devil on her shoulder.

Yep, that is Eden in a nutshell.

Last week World Vision flew Eden to Niger to … well that’s the question isn’t it? To what?

From Eden’s posts while in Niger it is clear she wasn’t sure why she was there either and feelings of despair and anger and helplessness were on high rotation through all her posts.

Despair at the sheer scope of the food crisis in Africa. Despair at seeing the numbers: 400,000 children in Niger alone are malnourished.

Anger at her (our) lives of comparative excess here in Australia and indeed, the rest of the first world.

Helplessness because what can she do? What can we do? Surely any individual effort is but a drop in the ocean?

This brings me back to one of the comments in my despair post. It was Julie who said:

It’s like the butterfly effect. Believe in the power of good and that everyone has the capacity to make a difference.

Well Eden – I don’t pretend to have the answers for you but I DO believe in the butterfly effect. You might never know the true outcome(s) of beating your wings in Niger, but there IS an effect.

Will be an effect.



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  1. says

    I have goosebumps Kel. I have to have faith in a world in which we do not truly understand. I believe in goodness. I believe that Eden has done more good than she will ever know. And I believe her tiny little butterfly wings have made a difference in hearts around Australia.

    • says

      Thank you lovely – you and I are cut from the same cloth in our life philosophies! I think that’s how we found each other so easily in the madness of the web world!

    • says

      Thank you lovely Deb. I have read your recent posts (they probably played a part in inspiring this one!) and even tried to leave a comment on one but my iPad ate it :(

  2. says

    Beautiful post, Kel, as always. Reminded me of when I cried all night on my first (and only) trip to India many years ago. The scale of the despair was overwhelming. I haven’t been there since, but when I do, it will be with a stronger spirit, I hope.

    I guess we can only hope that our small contributions somehow effect a larger collective change…

  3. says

    I read this the other day and wondered how I could make Eden’s trip worthwhile. Then the beautiful butterfly Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids beat her wings and now I know how I can help. Not just on my own, but with a group of other bloggers to sponsor a child.