I Refuse

Some of you know that, following my 18-month mission for the LDS Church in the Philippines, I chose to take up a minor in International Development before completing my degree at BYU. Although it required a few extra classes and postponed my graduation a couple of months, I have never regretted the choice.

This song is one that I found several years ago. It struck me to the core the very first time I listened to it. The lyrics are powerful and striking. From that moment on, I knew that I needed to do something more meaningful with my life. At the time, that meant simple things like better serving my family and befriending the quiet stranger who crossed my path. As I’ve listened to this song and reflected on it over the past few months, however, I can see how the tiny seed it planted long ago has grown and blossomed within me.

I could never really explain why development was so intriguing to me. I don’t know why injustice has always been so captivating and concerning in my life. Maybe it’s because I grew up with white privilege (whatever that may be) and lived a very sheltered life of relative ease. Maybe I have some kind of Survivor Guilt for all the hardships I never experienced, the horrific trials I never had to endure. Whatever it might be, this song is a reminder to me that every blessing and fortunate circumstance that has been given to me is an opportunity to influence the world and make an impact for good. It is a testimony to the power of every single person and a chilling verification of the sentiment:

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

As I am on a precipice, trying to determine what steps are next in my life, this is a motivation for me to keep pressing on. I may not yet see or understand what exactly I’m supposed to do or how I am supposed to accomplish it. But I know that I need to act. I can’t give up. I can’t lose hope, or vision. I can’t let self-doubt or uncertainty about the future keep me from moving forward. I will not. I refuse.

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