I have a question for you. If you found a time machine and could go back either to the gala victory celebration on the night of Ronald Reagan’s election, or you could go back to sit with Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King on the night of their worst defeat, which would you choose?

I ask that question because I believe most of us would choose a life of dignified suffering rather than one of personal success that served no higher purpose. We all die and so the most important question we can ask ourselves is for what value will we spend our days?

In some ways, the worse times get, the greater our opportunity to do the things that really matter. In this time when some seek to dominate our streets, we have an historic opportunity to work for human liberation. In this time of sickness, we have an historic opportunity to work for universal health care. In this time of brutality and lies, we have an opportunity to express our highest values through those very problems.

For example, there are still brave souls working for some of the issues Martin Luther King died for. “The Poor Peoples Campaign” is a living breathing embodiment of the historic struggle for human dignity in America. If you are looking for a way to get involved, go to their website and explore. But there are also so many wonderful movements right now that could use your help. Instead of choosing despair, why not think about a cause you most care about and find kindred spirits who are doing the work you would find most valuable?

There is a saying that the life of activism only gives two rewards: loving friends and living dreams. It seems to me these are perhaps the greatest treasures of the human heart. Why choose to spend our brief days in despair when, in this dangerous time, we can choose to unleash our souls’ greatness instead?