This year is coming to an end and I feel like there's something hanging in the air. Sadness? Disappointment? I am well aware of the privilege to not feel this in my little bubble, but I am also well aware it is elsewhere. Everywhere. The world as a whole is a sad place right now, I feel like the moment I go online or turn on my television it comes at me as fast as I can blink- bad politics, violence, horrible, indescribable things happening here and all around our world. I can't figure out if things are that much worse or if we are that much more plugged in. A few of my friends have argued for the latter but I really do believe it feels worse than it has in recent years. And our current political climate- and the climate we will be moving into- does not help.
I go between a lot of emotions- feeling helpless, feeling ridiculous going about my life while there is so much going on elsewhere, feeling even worse posting about what I call the fluffy stuff on my social media channels while there are so many more important things that could be discussed- it's a weird place to be, aware of everything happening but also still doing your day-to-day, living your normal, comfortable life. Privilege, guilt, feeling confused about how to help or where to begin. I'm sure many of you can relate to at least one of these things.
So I think about where I can start. I look at the big picture, the small picture, I read articles and I watch the news. It's overwhelming. Aleppo is at the forefront of every news report and for good reason. We can donate (read this), but what else?
That is the big picture. So I take a step back. I look again. Back up more, look again. And I see my place, I see where I can help now. Today. Even inside this safe bubble that I live in, I can do something. I can begin by teaching the most important little students I'll ever have. I can show my children how to love and how to be compassionate. How to stand up for what they believe in and never quiet their voices, or allow others' voices to be quieted. I can teach tolerance and curiosity, open-mindedness and respect. It's daunting, imagining these little brains and hearts and all the work that must be done. But it must be done.
So that's what I am focusing on. This is my answer to myself when I feel confused and helpless. I still feel like it's never enough, and I also don't want to minimize anything by imagining that the solution to any of these horrible things in the world is teaching my children- but we do what we can with what we have, and this is what I can do. Love and be love and teach love. And then one day we can only hope that all of it is like a snowball, and even though it's a very small portion of a very large problem, perhaps this little light can illuminate even the smallest corner of the tiny piece we've been given, and it will carry over to someone else's and carry over to another's, again and again, a tiny spark becoming even just a bit bigger. You do it, I do it, we all do it. That is my hope and my WHY. Love and love and love.
Sending love and light to you and yours, and a happy almost-Christmas too.
*photo from Fall 2015, taken by Lauren Ristow.