What do I do?
What can I do?
When it’s not in my backyard, when my kid is safe and my belly is fed, I can turn the radio off, shut down social media, just pretend I don’t see it.
But what happens to the part of me that knows I’m pretending. The part of me that knows this isn’t fake, that real people experience pain, fear, trauma, hunger, homelessness, and disparity on a regular basis––in our country and around the world.
What happens to my spirit when I turn a blind eye? What happens to the collective spirit?
The fact that I get to do my “real work” is a luxury. A tremendous gift.
And it is your gift, too.
If you are reading this, my hunch is that you aren’t in a war-torn battlefield. You aren’t walking the streets plagued by mental illness, homeless and afraid, wishing someone cared about you.
Your experience—this life— is your gift. So what do you do with that?
When you open the newspaper or turn on the TV or scroll through your Facebook feed and see something that seems way beyond anything you can handle as an individual this is what you do:
You start here.
Place your hand over your heart. (I’m dead serious.)
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath.
Because you have the privilege to pause. The privilege to close your eyes and know you’ll be safe right now so you can ask this question:
What is the war going on in here?
Because until we can honestly answer that question with deep compassion and grace, we’re going to keep fighting wars out there––literal and metaphorical.
This is not about politics. This is not about right or wrong, good or bad, or guilt about privilege. This is about asking yourself the bigger questions. This is about love at the deepest level. This is about what you can do with the resources you possess and the life you’ve been given.
So what can you do? You could donate or volunteer or post another meme on Facebook. Heck, maybe that’s what you should do or will do, but before you do anything, pause. Get quiet and still. Look inward, not to close your eyes to what is happening around the world or right outside your door, but to get centered and solid.
Get quiet so you can hear what it is you can do. Get still, so you can act from a place of calmness, clarity, and compassion. Yes, even in this chaotic world.
In the comments below, tell me how you keep your eyes and heart open to the world without being consumed by it. If that feels too big, tell me one act of compassion you offered or witnessed today.