As we sit in the wake of yet another tragedy, my hands are heavy and my heart is numb. It is hard to find the purpose in putting words to paper. These days, as loved ones are lost to violence and hurricanes and humanitarian crises, it feels as if both god and man are working against us.
I am not a first responder. I am not a member of the military or police. I am not a doctor or nurse. I am not a policy maker. I am not an activist or organizer. I don’t even make political art. My only skills are using my head + hands + heart to make things whose only purpose in this world is to be beautiful. It is hard not to feel helpless when one only has creativity in their tool belt.
But times like these draw me back to when I started this writing journey ~ a former coworker, someone I respected deeply, said something online that jolted my system. During the election, he lashed out at “ignorant farmers” who lived off the government dime, all the while displaying his own ignorance by using a pumpkin farmer as an example. (I can assure you, regardless of your view on agricultural subsidies, the government is not paying anyone to grow pumpkins.) I saw vitriol from the opposite side as well, as I watched those close to me lash out at muslims and immigrants in dehumanizing ways. I could give numerous examples, and I’m sure you could as well. But this isn’t about politics. These days, not even politics seems to be about politics anymore.
Politics is about finding solutions to shared problems. But when we only see our own problems as valid, or when we negate or ignore or are unaware of the perspectives of others, we will never solve anything.
I started this writing in part to tell my story and in part to entertain, but also to build a bridge to a world that others may not see. The urban-rural divide is only one of the deep chasms we face in the world today, but it is the one I am currently straddling, and the one that feeds my creativity. I hope, through my words and work, to show that humanity at its core is universal. To show that we are all deeply loved, deeply flawed, and deeply human – and that there is a worthwhile story in all of us. And that one of the things the world needs more than ever is the ability to listen.
Please take some time to hug your loved ones extra hard, and connect with family and friends in Las Vegas still shaking from the tragedy. And reach out to those in your community who have lost contact with entire families in Puerto Rico. And lend support to those in Texas still rebuilding. And to those in Mexico crushed by earthquakes. And do whatever you are called to do to wherever you are called to help. Thoughts and prayers are a good start, but connection and action are where the real work happens. Please take the time to find ways to do the real work, using whatever skills you have.
Your regularly scheduled story will return next week – in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts ~ I’d love to hear them. But don’t stop there. The world needs all the good that you can give.
Take care ~