The Weight of Nothing

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At times it is easy to be drawn to feelings of discouragement in the face of so much despair in the world today. We may ask what one person can do that would cause any change in the world. The following parable offers an encouraging reflection on the power of one and the importance of raising our individual voices.


‘Tell me the weight of a snowflake’, a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.

‘Nothing more than nothing’, was the answer.

‘In that case I must tell you a marvellous story’, the coal-mouse said. ‘I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not in a raging blizzard, no, just like in a dream, without any violence. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 2,741,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch – nothing more than nothing, as you say – the branch broke off.’

Having said that the coal-mouse flew away.

The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself: ‘Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for justice and peace to come about in the world.’

(Adapted from A Race to Nowhere by Pax Christi.)


For ideas on personal actions we can take to promote Social Justice read:
Everyday Steps Toward Social Justice