It’s time. Time to pull myself out of the malaise that I’ve been in for three months and get down to the work of being a contributing citizen of my country. Truth be told, the last quarter of 2016 flattened me. My mother died, Donald Trump was elected, and, on the last day of the year, my beloved dog died. Yes, the last quarter of the year was, for me, a train wreck.
Here’s the thing though, as miserable as it was, I am still here and still way more fortunate than so many people, not only on this earth, but also so many people in the town in which I live. Yes, I get to mourn my losses and rail against the insanity of the election, but if that is all I do then what, really, am I good for?
I believe in the power of one person to make a difference. But I believe even more in the power of many people to make a difference. I think that a lot of us believe that we are to leave the work of change to those who are smarter, more outspoken, more connected, more, more, more than we are. I used to think that.
Now what I think is that we need to be willing to not leave the work to the special flowers, the chosen few about whom we read. Now we need to be willing to be one voice among many. One thorn among many in the sides of those whose policies we oppose. We need to be willing to add our story to the stories of many others so that the weight of our collective stories can force the change that is needed.
There is a way in which, when we decide to leave the speaking up, and taking of action to others that we are being lazy. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we are not important enough for our voice to make a difference. It’s easy to believe that our one small action won’t matter, but that isn’t true. It isn’t true to the person to whom we show kindness and offer support. It isn’t true to the people we will never meet but who are impacted by the decisions that our leaders take.
I believe that the time has come for each of us to be willing to do the helpful thing that we are called to do. Whatever that may be. Lest you think that you’ve got nothing that calls you I would remind you that there have been times when you thought, “I should do this.” There was an action you thought to take, but then you fell into the trap of believing that nothing you would do would make a difference. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.
I know that if we only look to see what difference our single action made, we may find none. We often don’t, in the moment, have the ability to see the whole picture of the aggregate of all our actions. That picture sometimes isn’t clear for years. But not clear isn’t the same as not true.
My thing is story. Gathering, exploring, and sharing stories, mine and others, is what excites me because I know the healing power of sharing our stories. I know how telling our truth and then acting on that knowledge can change each of us and, through each of us, the world. So as we enter 2017 I rededicate myself to gathering, exploring, and sharing stories. My own and others.
I rededicate myself to using my tools and gifts to make the difference that I can make. To contribute my tiny piece to the tapestry of the those committed to a world that is peaceful, equitable, and healthy for all its citizens. That’s what I’m going to do this year. What contribution will you make? What will you do that you have thought of but then shot down because you thought, “Well, how will it matter what I do?”
It matters. Whether you can see how or not, it matters. It matters because you, just like the rest of us, have a contribution to make. What that contribution looks like is up to you, but our world needs to hear the voices that have been drowned out by those who are comfortable in the spotlight.
So what will you do? What will you offer? The world is waiting for those of us who haven’t started to start. To those who have, thank you.