(This blog post was originally written by Wyatt Trapp in November 2018.)

Living in LA for a quarter of a Century, I’ve had an opportunity or two to crest the hill on the Sepulveda Pass separating the massive San Fernando Valley from the LA Basin now sprawling below — pulsating with the energy of human thriving. Sometimes my heart swells with excitement at what a privilege it is to live in such an iconic city with all of it’s potential to find a meaningful existence. Other times… not so much.

On those occasions I’m weighed down with despair and meaninglessness at the hustle-bustle and wonder what it’s all for. The men-and-material required to pull off the vast, tightly woven economies that we find ourselves in just seem overwhelming at times, and why?: A business supplies a widget for a corporation that sells to a mom-and-pop who makes the utensil necessary for that craftsman to manufacture a component of a machine necessary for the business who supplies a widget yada, yada, yada… It’s like the song that never ends, and I wonder what my meaningless little attempt at life matters in all of it. Then I think of all the great kings and leaders long forgotten in their graves, if we’ve even kept track of their graves, and wonder what it even matters if I try to live a life that could somehow stamp an impact on this crazy world of ours.

And then I pull to my humble little Burbank Bungalow, walk onto my property, see my wife of many years, maybe get a hug, engage an employee or a friend who’s over to visit, and I think of a very different economy — the small nucleus of my life where we trade in care and character and time spent listening to each other’s stories, and being there for each other in the despair and the joy, and I’m brought back to center and remember how it works:

The ocean of humanity across time is made up of little moments and little character decisions that hardly anyone knows about, and that at once don’t matter a bit, yet bear the weight of eternity.

One kind word from me to even a stranger can shift the day for that father, who will go home happier and love on a child, who will feel empowered to do their homework for the first time, which gives his despairing teacher some hope, who now stays late to plan a better class for tomorrow and happens to see a friend who needs to vent about their terrible day, so when they get home it doesn’t land on their spouse who’s coming home with…