To say the least, it’s been quite a year. I dare say there isn’t a person on earth not impacted by some aspect of the events of this year: wildfires in Australia and California, the pandemic, racial discord in the United States and the ongoing division and political debate over how to best address these issues and now we are facing an election. There have been natural disasters and human tragedies. I’m sure there is more that I’m not aware of around the world. I wanted to put down some thoughts here and how I would like to get involved in making the world even a tiny bit better. I hope you’ll be patient and read through…this is not a political statement, but my thoughts and how I arrived at the decision to start the giving back program here.
One of the things that has made the pandemic and quarantine even harder for some is food insecurity. I’ve seen statistics that 40 million Americans lost jobs toward the beginning. Some have come back, but food pantries have seen a huge rise in requests for help. I’m glad these services are there for those in need. It’s so heartbreaking to me: the idea that people in a country with the wealth that we have are still hungry is unacceptable.
The killing of George Floyd in June sparked a new round of discussions on race relations in our country. Unfortunately, some have turned to violence, and the suffering is increasing rather than decreasing. It feels like we are in a cycle now of protest and retaliation, a lot of pointing fingers, a lot of politicians trying to get the high ground, just a lot. I’ve often felt that it’s hard to know what to believe and who to listen to. It’s easy to blame and question motives based on your own life experiences or the political silo that you are stuck inside.
A quote that stuck with me (I don’t remember where/who it came from) from these times is this: “Your world is not THE world”.
I love this because it is a reminder to BELIEVE the voices of those who are speaking up. You or I may not have ever experienced food insecurity, homelessness or discrimination so it can be easy to dismiss the hardship of others. It’s easy to forget the small advantages we have had that helped us get where we are or have it a little bit easier. It’s easy to take for granted the opportunities we enjoy simply by being born in a certain zip code, with a certain skin color, or to our particular parents.
“Your world is not THE world”
I hope that little reminder helps all of us to open our hearts to each other. To consider that it doesn’t matter WHY someone else is struggling, just that they need our help and if we are able, we should reach out.
I’ll finish with an experience I’ll never forget. It wasn’t life changing or huge, but it had a big affect on me.
My younger brother died suddenly and very unexpectedly in February of this year. My family is uniquely close…while we don’t all live close together, we communicate often, visit as much as we can, and really enjoy a special bond. My mom and siblings and I were/are devastated by his loss. One of the first days after I returned home from his funeral, I was at my gym doing my usual morning time on the elliptical trainer. Deep grief had me feeling like I was stuck in quicksand. I felt weak, sad, and generally not myself, but I did my workout. It was kind of the last place I wanted to be.
In the locker room as I was getting my coat and changing my shoes, a young woman (she happened to be a person of color) gave me a huge smile and said, essentially, “man, you are GOALS on the elliptical! I hope I can do it like that some day!”. Her bright demeanor, smile, and kind words were exactly the boost I needed in that moment. Obviously, it didn’t bring me to the surface of the deep abyss I was in, but that short, kind interaction brought me out of myself for a moment. She had no way of knowing what I was feeling or the grief I was experiencing, but she took a chance on saying something kind to a stranger and made a difference.
I hope that our first instinct is kindness and generosity.
Since we started wearing masks, the thing I notice the most that I miss is smiling at people. What a loss that is when we all need smiles more than ever.
Over the summer I gave a lot of thought to how I want to try and make a small difference. I’d love to be more involved in my community and do something big, but I have a lot more heart than I have time. So, to start, I want to use my platform at Color Girl to at least give to help those in need. It’s a small step, but hopefully one that will help someone.
Since hunger is a cause that’s meaningful to me and affects people of all kinds, this month, 5% of all sales from the shop here will be donated to the organization No Kid Hungry. You can read more about them and give directly, here, if you like.
I hope you’ll take these words in the spirit they are intended. I think we can all make the world a little bit brighter. We can’t see each others’ smiles right now, so let’s show our love and generosity of spirit in other ways.
If you are aware of an organization that is working to improve our world, please do share. We might make them the next recipient of Colorful Quilters Giving Back.
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