Like you, Deb and I have been processing and re-processing all that has happened these past several months, never more than we have this past week. This is different from our typical Friday emails, however, one of the values we’re committed to is authenticity. We suspect you will relate to much of this …
A Call to Our Better Selves …
We’re all living in hard, sad times these past few months. If we’re honest with ourselves and others, each of us has been scared, anxious, frustrated, irritable, worried, stressed … maybe all at the same time. Some of us have lost jobs, mobile homes, businesses, income, security, freedom etc. Tragically, over 100,000 Americans have lost their lives to Covid-19. If that hasn’t been enough we’ve now witnessed the senseless killing of a black man and been confronted with the ongoing racism that is still part of our American fabric. For days now we’ve all witnessed the horrific rioting, burning, looting, and killing taking place across this country. Our country is divided and boiling … we’re reminded every time we watch or read the news, or open up our social media.
For all this, Deb and I are saddened and disturbed at a level we’ve never experienced before. Contributing to this is the bitter division we see happening within families, among friends, within neighborhoods and communities. We’ve experienced it through covid and are experiencing it even more as we all react to the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing riots.
Diversity has made this country great, and yet it seems, now, diversity is tearing us apart. At our best, we not only welcome, but embrace and accept different races, cultures, religions, and opinions. At our best people from every country, race, and faith have come to America clinging to the hope our founders expressed and set out to build upon …
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Though the sky is dark right now, 250 years later we still hold these truths to be self-evident. Have we failed? Yes, over and over and over again. Though we’ve made huge progress, do we continue to fail? Yes, without a doubt. Our ongoing failure in the pursuit of living out this great ideal has most recently fueled the scenes playing out before our very eyes.
So, now what? Has our failure become so unbearable that we burn the whole thing to the ground? Do we start a revolution? Do we say to ourselves and others “what a joke, the whole thing is a lie!”
Or, do we each dig down to the best part of ourselves that we might each do our part to bring peace and unity in any big or small measure we can?
Can we accept our brothers and sisters regardless of race, creed, or nationality, knowing we are all human beings sharing the same emotions, the same ideals, the same desire for a better life for ourselves and our families? Can we tolerate difference of opinion with humility knowing none of us is as right as we think we are? Can we allow each person to express their own mind without fear of being called a name or labeled in some derogatory way, or worse yet, being attacked and cut off … cut off from family, from friends, from neighbors who disagree with us?
Can we not be friends and neighbors and neighborly to one another though we have different views, opinions and politics?
We can, we know we can.
We recently read this from Seth Godin:
When a problem appears too large, too intractable and too unspeakable to deal with, it’s easy to give up.
There never seems to be enough time, enough resources or enough money to make the big problems go away.
Perhaps we can start with a very small part of it. One person, one opportunity, one connection. Drip by drip, with commitment.
Those are the two hard parts. The insight to do it drip by drip and the persistence to commit to it.
For some, this may not seem an appropriate response to what we see taking place today. However, we believe “one person, one opportunity, one connection … drip by drip, with commitment,” can be like the ripples that spread across a pond as the result of one small stone. Starting within our own families and extended families, moving out to our friends and acquaintances, and out further to our neighbors and community and further still to all those we know who see things differently than we do … Drip by drip kindness and tolerance can spread.
Since you’ve read this far … one more thought on moving forward …
“Go First” comes from an interview Tim Ferriss (from his great book, Tools of Titans) did with Gabby Reece. Gabby has been named one of the “20 Most Influential Women in Sports” and is best known for her success in volleyball. She is also married to Laird Hamilton who is considered the greatest big wave surfer of all time.
During the interview Gabby said, “I always say that I’ll go first … That means that if I’m checking out at the grocery store, I’ll say hello first. If I’m coming across someone and make eye contact, I’ll smile first. Be first, because – not at all times, but most times – it comes back in your favor. People are ready, but you have to go first, because now we’re being trained in this world to opt-out – nobody’s going first anymore.”
There are so many ways we can go first … let’s give it a try. Who’s the one person, where’s the one opportunity, the one connection you can initiate that will begin to make this world a better place? Go first, day by day, drip by drip.
*We realize we are far removed from the poverty, the injustice, and the rage afflicting much of America right now. We are blessed and grateful to be living in such a diverse and peaceful community. This is not a political statement. This is an attempt to connect with our friends and neighbors. This is our attempt to offer encouragement and hope in the midst of a dark time. It’s also an expression of what we believe … that all good things spring forth from home and family, from connection, from neighborhoods and communities.