After the election results, I’m reminded of that saying “may you live in interesting times” — we are indeed.
The thing that is keeping me both firmly grounded and with eyes still on the horizon of our values and vision is that the arc of history tells us that the only way the world changes for the good is through the daily collective work of ordinary people. We truly have made incredible progress on this beautiful blue marble in space we call home. We also can’t allow ourselves ever to forget the pain and suffering we’ve caused (and are causing) one-another as humans and indeed to all species that share this place and time with us. But, there is reason to hope — and even more reason to DO … to use our time, talents and money to try to make the world a better place.
I have no fantasies about the path ahead — and by that I mean neither doomsday or utopian fantasies. We are indeed collectively and individually the same flawed people today that we were yesterday…as the Leonard Cohen song Anthem says “there is a crack in everything.” And indeed, given the events of the past weeks, I feel that fracture and chasm deeply. But the song doesn’t stop there — the refrain continues: “there is a crack in everything…that is how the light gets in, that’s how the light gets in, that’s how the light gets in.”
We must both trust the process and strive for goals. We must hold our own values and ideals dear and work hard to listen deeply to the strident, hurtful, hurting, and confusing voices of our fellow citizens. We care for those we love and try to understand those who aren’t so sure about us and our motives. We take the long view and try to make today a day that was worth the precious gift of another 24 hours of breath. I feel disappointed but resolved to do what I can — and to help us do what we can — to be a force for good.
The temptation is to go binary — to think either/or, black/white, good/evil, short-term/long-term. Let’s help each other not do that. Let’s go “and”, not “or”. Let’s figure out next steps and keep grounded in our values. Let’s have a bold vision and a daily humility for just how easily the bright dawn of possibility can turn into a murky twilight.
We need to be prepared for turbulence — and we need to practice the kind of self and other care that will help each one of us be resilient, resourceful and compassionate as we navigate what are likely to be some uncertain times ahead.
What I am choosing to focus on is that somehow, for those who have eyes to see it and the will to make it real, the light gets in despite and through our flaws — and the world is better for it. It is also true that humans have the capacity for illusion, prejudice, misogyny and hate. We must not be complacent.
Let’s keep our eyes on the value we strive to create, the future we yearn to create for ourselves, for our children, and for our children’s children.
Let’s keep learning, let’s keep caring, let’s keep going.