One January morning Marie Constantin decided to take her dog for a walk along the shores of Capitol Lake in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, expecting to see White Pelicans, Hooded Mergansers and Ring-Necked ducks--all migratory waterfowl that fly in from such faraway places as Canada and the Pacific Northwest. While she was looking at the beauty around her, she saw a density of litter—mostly single use items—which seemed almost unbelievable.
The scene was surreal. The city’s untreated storm canals had turned the lake into a landfill. She was sad for the wildlife knowing they were living in a toxic soup of litter.
She knew it was wrong. Her Catholic faith taught her that life that is good and sacred and holy, this was wrong. Even so, she felt it was too much for one person because it circled the banks of two lakes and even more of it floated in the waters waiting for the water to recede or a wind to move it so it could get stuck on a shoreline.
Helpless as she was, there was one thing she could do. She recalled the lessons of St. Teresa of Calcutta. When St. Teresa looked at the sea of suffering humanity, she didn’t become paralyzed with the enormity of it all and do nothing. Instead, she set out to pick up just one person and one turned into two and two turned into three…. In fact, she once said, “If I hadn’t picked up the one, I wouldn’t have picked up 42,000.”
Marie had had the good fortune of traveling with Mother Teresa to photograph her and saw her talk to crowds numerous times. “I am not called to be successful,” she would tell them. “I am called to be faithful.” Her words were now making sense to Marie. When faced with the impossible, decide to be faithful. Just do the little thing in front of you and don’t worry about the rest.