That seems to be a too constant refrain.
We are world-weary before we even leave Elementary School these days. We look for trustworthy places to rest and people to love and play with on the playground. We look for best friends.
And as much as we are the ones that we have been waiting for, we are born to live in community – we yearn to belong. We need to matter. We hope for safety.
This week has reminded us that’s some of our greatest Danger comes from our own species. We had Irma and Harvey and Maria, but those were just names to terrible weather events we cannot control. But there’s some things we can do about violence and hunger and the overwhelming clean up after devastating loss.
We can show up. We can show up for others by truly seeing them if they are strangers. We can smile. We can give our voice for others and our time to listen and help around the house. We can put that doggone phone down and pay attention to the clerk who’s ringing up our groceries or Starbucks or unicorn socks.
We can sit silently with someone who has lost their best friend or father. We can follow up three weeks later with food or a bottle of wine.
We can say we have no answers for this terrible thing and I love you, where’s the toilet brush?
Just this week after reading about another mass shooting I realized the only proper response I had was to forgive the five greatest actors of Cruelty in my life. I have not reached out to them, but they are no longer reaching out into me. And I have given myself permission to let go of the history I had hoped for and the justice I rightly demanded that was never going to happen. This new headspace fits nicely.
In the wake of another catastrophic loss, another reminder that violence looks like us, we can – for a moment – forgo our need to be the center of the universe. We can remember that it is not always about us and that in building up another – in speaking life to one another – we are building a better world, a world that looks more like the one we would like to live in.
Yes, I have questions about why we need semi-automatic and automatic weapons as a society. Yes, I was made uncomfortable this morning and had to decide whether I was going to see that person for who they might be or who I was afraid they were. Yes, we have more to do than postulate and wonder aloud about the State of the State. We can act and give and see and share.
Let’s examine what’s important in the long run. As Robin Williams said in the Dead Poets Society, we will all be food for worms one day. If our focus is so short-sighted as to our own enjoyment, success, or perceived safety, then we’re playing too short of a game.
If we make decisions as a people that prolong violence and Injustice and hunger and rape and fear then all of our Twittered hopes and prayers mean nothing except to placate our own broken consciences. We will be living in a broke-down house of our own making. We will be living in long past Glory Days when today needs our beautiful attention.
What story do we want to leave for our families and hometowns? Better a rich well woven story of love and service and Hope and selflessness then a loud bragging flimsy House of Cards.
We all have something we can do. How much joy does a good cup of coffee bring from the hands of a talented and thoughtful barista? Or how much warmth could an imperfect quilt made of our handiwork provide for someone cold and tired? What sort of international relations can we cultivate by sharing a smile, time, ice cream… with someone whose story is foreign to our own?
We want a better world and we need to get out of our own way. We can’t wait for somebody else to extend our super powers. Consider this: that each day you-me-we are called up into service of one another.
You are forgiven for your mistakes. You are encouraged from the sidelines – from those ahead of you in the race and those far behind – to be the best you as goofy and as driven and as sportstering and introverted and hopelessly romantic and helpless in the kitchen and funny and handy and innovative and quiet and loud and boisterous and big and small As You Are. You are needed as you are today. The world needs your hands, your heart, your voice, your mad skills at meme-ing, and your attention.
Dear weary ones. Now is your moment. The world needs you as you are to help build the world you want to live in.
Go. Smile. Be present. Feel. Cry laugh wonder and ask for help or, “How may I help?” That is your greatest derring-do.