I keep looking for the intellectual capital we all know is within our capabilities….and the heart capital we also find buried in our souls, both necessary to a change in intention, a change in processing information, a change in rhetoric and a change in how we each represent ourselves in a way that models our sense of character, integrity and civility. A way we can joyously invite our children and grandchildren and every generation to follow a view of hope through our care and concern…and action…to effect that hope for all. I have no doubt we can live into our best selves and offer our society the unique gifts we have been given to heal a hurting neighborhood, a hurting community, a hurting state, a hurting nation, and a hurting world.
My mind returns time and again to the choices we can make that begin with our daily lives. Our outlook defined by the responsibility we bear not just for our own actions, but the thoughts and considerations that drive those actions. Do they represent who each of is called to be and empowered to be? Do they represent introspection that calls for unwavering convictions that might lessen suffering and support hope and change? Do we set aside the quiet time that kind of introspection requires?
And then…can we translate our uniqueness and intention to positive interactions that can lead to resolutions rather than judgment and a divisive stance, whether those interactions are in person, in print or on social media?
I have noticed these last years in particular, it is often the small kindness that makes the biggest difference! It may not include tangible gifts or tangible assistance…it may simply be presence through a call, a visit, a note, a text! Caring for one another takes on many forms and is not limited to those we know. Being a part of doing what is best for everyone is an important reflection of how care and concern are defined. We are connected in a myriad of ways that call for working together for the best result.
My Dad used to tell me to do “what God puts before my feet”……he made an amazing impression, explaining that looking at the wider picture would overwhelm and I would end up doing nothing! He also admonished my “feet had to move”! Outside, away from my personal spaces. Oh, my, what great advice that has proved for my life! My world became much wider and introduced me to new friends across this city I would never have had the privilege to know. I have learned from each of them. But it wasn’t their job to teach me! The most important result was becoming part of a community, one I would never have encountered without intention and good leadership. A community where we became friends, sharing the communion of meals, sharing joys and sharing sorrows. Like I said. Friends.
This time we live in more than affirms my Dad’s reference to becoming overwhelmed! I need not describe the layers of chaos and suffering we have all witnessed and continue to witness, the way information is accepted without a depth of reading past a paragraph, the way we have allowed others to determine our thoughts and reactions. I know of no easy answers. Those answers are people dependent. Heart dependent. Soul dependent. Prayer dependent followed by paying attention to the answers those prayers provide!
But I have learned, our individual behavior becomes our message. Looking for opportunities each day, in the simplest circumstance, to make a difference is the structure we need to support any collective answer. It IS the collective answer! When our arms encircle, rather than support a raised fist, when our answer is thoughtful rather than an echo from someone else, when we are intentional in recognizing need, physical or emotional, when we become proactive rather than reactive, our day can take on a new tenor. At the very least, it can give us hope and affirm our potential as human beings who love one another. At the very most, it can become part of a world that does change.
Lest you think I’m a “pie in the sky” kind of girl…..I am well aware and heartily support ongoing verbal and written…and lived out…advocacy; the tangible responsibilities we each have to foster systemic change; the importance of informed voting and voting access…and on and on. All things I have made every effort to do alongside teams of hardworking servants! These efforts paint the wider picture of care and concern in our daily lives, too. We can all work to litigate those changes within the required framework.
But we have all experienced our inability to litigate matters that require our hearts to change! We can do that…it is within our personal power to decide our own message.
Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem famously ended:
“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”