There’s a lot of talk about where we go from here. And I feel so stuck in that. We have fought so hard, we have made such gains in this broken world. And now this. And. Now. This. And I don’t know what to do next. The small things I’ve done feel too small to even count. So I’m calling a lot of things Step Zero. Thinking about where we go from here? Step zero. Sharing kindness with others? Step zero. Praying for our country? Step zero. Practicing self care? Step zero. Maybe these are bigger steps than that for you and I am so glad. But while I’m not satisfied to sit in this lament any longer, it feels so very hard to move forward. Any action taken seems to be immediately knocked down by worse and worse and worse news. I’m thinking a lot about where I want my time, energy, money, and voice to go. And I’m thinking a lot about self care and how to acknowledge the sadness in myself and my world and meet it with reasonable and helpful actions.
So far that has looked like…
THREE MONTHS AGO: showing up at work for my team, giving hugs and crying together at the injustice our students and their families are facing. I tried to create space to listen to my direct reports and somehow step into this role of leading and supporting them as we carry on with our one small piece of making our country stronger by teaching our nation’s students how to read. The day after the election, I happened to be at the school where my friend Spencer teaches, so I brought him lunch; we cried and processed our shock and sadness. I hugged him approximately 8,000 times, giving the only thing I could for strength for a tough day he faced with very scared and angry children.
ONE WEEK AGO: standing up with my city for women and humans everywhere because I believe that this is what democracy looks like. No matter your political or religious views, I pray that you listen to these voices; that you look past your own privilege and acknowledge the suffering in our world and your responsibility to love others. I pray that you see how among 4 million protesters worldwide, there just so happened to be 4 million different views- and I bet that something you also believe in was represented within the women’s march. In the words of Rachel Held Evans, I won’t judge the worst protest sign of your movement if you don’t judge the worst protest sign of mine. I sincerely pray that you stop saying “these women don’t speak for me” and start listening to what they are saying. I’m trying my best to listen to you too.
TODAY: showing up to a new coffee shop in my town; a coffee shop run by a non-profit that is dedicated to helping refugees by providing job training. This organization is also dedicated to educating and involving the community, because we need community to make refugee resettlement possible. So I ordered my coffee, made conversation with the baristas (one of my least favorite activities in real life but oh my, they were so very welcoming and kind), I left a big tip, and then I sat with my coffee and marveled at the world, that good people do exist here. I made some calls because I am heartbroken at the news from the past two days in particular and I want my representatives to take action; this seemed like a good location to advocate from today. I prayed for those who are doing good work, who are fighting for truth and justice, who are outraged at what we see in the news and want us to be better, who truly believe that we can do better. I invited everyone I know in California to come back to this coffee shop with me anytime and went on my way to a weekend full of reading, naps, Chick-fil-a, movies, church, and spending time with my friends.
And then I wept all over again because this is what privilege is; that these are my struggles and I have the space to grieve and mourn and not fear for my life or for my family, that I can pivot so quickly to a weekend full of my favorite activities. And so I take another step zero by writing this to you. And I’ll find another step zero tomorrow and the next day. And I pray that someday I’ll look back and see that all these tiny steps that feel so insignificant and helpless right now actually add up to something quite tremendous. I pray that I look over and see you step zero-ing in your own way too, adding all that is light in this very dark world.
For further reading:
- The Time For Welcome is Now
- On Being a Christian and Being a Feminist
- The Refugee Crisis: 9 Questions You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask
- You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry.
P.S. Some of my next steps include:
- Calling representatives- 5 Calls is one of my favs for a quick list every week including scripts and numbers of your local representatives. The Women’s March 10 Actions/100 Days is another great one.
- Donating to International Rescue Committee and volunteering in my local community. #Istandwithrefugees
- Calling out the inaccurate information being spread among my family and friends and their family and friends. I will fact check you and I do it with great love.
- Looking up restaurants in my area from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen and eating some delicious food.