“These are the words I want on my gravestone: that I was a helper, and that I danced.”
It’s terribly dry in our area. Terribly. The grass crunches underfoot and fallen leaves are brittle within hours. Everything requires extra help to survive. Gardens must be watered daily or they wither and die. Animal troughs need to be topped up more than usual, and we have to drink extra water because the fierce winds and constant sun dry our skin right out. Only the weeds are flourishing. But still, there is life and hope.
Sometimes the world feels dry and parched too. Love and kindness seem to wilt while anger and cruelty flourish.
I’ve been so sad this week to see acts of racism, terrorism, and homophobia harm so many, as well as the accompanying harsh words and condemnation hurled when people don’t react the way others want them to.
I’m as reactionary as the next person, and when my issues are triggered, the world seems startlingly black and white. I want those issues to be black and white to others as well, but they aren’t. Because humans are involved, and humans are always colorful.
It’s harder to see people in color instead of black and white. So much harder. But I’ve been trying. Trying to understand the why behind what is believed and said and done. It doesn’t fix the situation, but it helps my attitude. It calms me down, lowers the walls I’d hurriedly erected, gives me patience and compassion.
And it helps me see that we all have a role to play when bad things happen, but they’re different roles.
Some write the things that need to be written, and speak the things that need to be spoken.
Some do the things that need to be done.
Some get busy showing extra love and kindness as they shop for groceries and drop their kids off at school.
Some send money to organizations doing the work they wish they could do if they had the time.
Some quietly make their home or workplace a safe place for everyone.
Some vote, some protest, some share the inspiring words of others.
And it’s all good.
I’ve seen so many comments judging the responses of others, as if one role is better than another. It isn’t.
If no one was working, there’d be no money to sponsor refugees or support compassionate political candidates.
If no one was going to school, there’d be no knowledge to dissipate faulty notices of race and white supremacy and religious extremism.
If no one was raising kind and loving kids, there’d be a world of selfish, cruel people carrying on the stupidity that gets us into the messes we’ve seen this week.
If no one was marching and protesting and venting on Facebook, we’d be completely unaware of the needs of those being oppressed and abused.
We’re all needed. ALL of us. The quiet and the noisy, the active and the steady, the visible and the invisible.
All that’s important is to do something good, and support the good efforts of others.
I don’t have money to give, I’m not allowed to vote, and I’m too far from anything to join a march or protest.
But I can collect pantry staples for refugee families, plant fruit trees and vegetables so I’ll always have food to share with others, and write articles featuring inspiring people doing good in their communities.
I can also cheer on those who are doing the things I can’t. Those who march for equal rights, give soul-stirring speeches, and especially those who risk everything to talk with those on the other side and work for ways to alleviate the fear, economic insecurity, and racial tensions that divide us.
We don’t have to do everything to make this world a better place, just something. Something good. xo