[C]ourage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own. ~Michelle Obama
There’s … a lot going on these days.
But, as has become commonplace in this era, our community of do-ers has risen to the moment. Sewers craft face masks for themselves and for health care providers. Teachers host class meetings on Zoom while reaching out to parents to soothe nerves. Yoga teachers hold free Facebook live power yoga classes. Famous artists-in-residence stream lunchtime doodle sessions for artists of all ages.
It would be impossible for me to list all of the creative, innovative ways that people are reaching out to others – offering up just a little corner of themselves and putting a piece of their heart out into the world. To soothe. To distract. To help in some way – small or big.
We’re living in a moment of small deeds. The small thing that I do – even if it’s just sitting down for a few moments to write these words – may cheer your day, even for just a spell. The small thing that you do – even if it’s just calling your neighbor, or dropping seedlings at her door – may cheer her day, even for just a spell.
It’s clear that our government hasn’t handled – and won’t handle – this crisis well. We can’t dictate that, no matter how much we may want to.
But our government can’t dictate our humanity. That’s up to us to manage on our own.
In difficult times, I try to focus on what I’m learning through the experience rather than the pain it’s causing in the moment. And perhaps humanity is the lesson we’re supposed to learn from all of this.
Compassion – for ourselves and each other.
Patience – for accepting where we are and breathing through our grief over the time we’ve lost.
Unity – in purpose and heart and resolve.
Courage – to use in those quiet times when worry takes over.
Resilience – knowing that our ability to adapt will carry us through these times.
And the greatest of these – hope.
I know these are short words today. I hope you’ll forgive me – time moves faster than usual these days. But know that I think of you often. I appreciate you.
We’ll get through this.
Let’s get to work.
*PS: If you recall, last year’s series on mental health culminated in a post about Hope. It’s worth revisiting. You can do that HERE.
Actions for the week of March 24, 2020
Tuesday: No Corporate Bailout
No doubt you’ve heard that the GOP’s version of a “bailout” (which they drafted without any Democrats at the table) focuses on corporations and industries and leaves workers and folks like us high and dry. Oh hell no.
Listen, we’ve heard this tune before – “too big to fail,” and all. It didn’t sit well with us then, and is sure as hell doesn’t now when the GOP just gave tax cuts to corporations and the ultra wealthy.
So please call your Senators today and let them know that you expect them to stand up for workers, and to get funding into the hands of the people who need it – right now.
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling because any stimulus bill needs to put workers first – not be another corporate bailout. The Senator is supposed to represent me – not all of the big corporations with lobbyists. I’m going to be watching like a hawk.
Wednesday: Connect By Mail
Last week, a reader (thank you Pat!) asked how to send a letter to nursing home residents or other people who could use a pick-me-up right now. And honestly, that’s such a lovely idea.
So get out your stationary, and check out the various campaigns at Write On: https://www.writeoncampaign.com/write-to-those-in-need
But don’t stop there – you have friends and family that could use a tangible card right now. Why not take ten minutes and write them a letter? (And for families with small kiddos that need handwriting practice, writing a letter to grandma is a great activity for the littles.)
Thursday: Find Mutual Aid Projects Near You
Plenty of folks have reached out to see whether there are any ways they can pitch in in their community. And Indivisible has created a great resource where you can find mutual aid projects among nonprofits. You can check it out HERE.
Friday: Get that sewing machine out!
It wouldn’t be an action list without a call to create DIY face masks, would it?
A few points to note. First, of course homemade masks are not as good as surgical masks. But they are somewhat protective – and can be made more so depending upon the materials that you choose. Researchers at Cambridge studied the effectiveness of a variety of materials – including cotton t-shirts, dish towels, and pillowcases. They found some to be more effective than others. You can check out their results here: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/
But the takeaway is that a pillowcase or a 100% cotton t-shirt are the fabrics they recommended, largely because of their breathability (which is really important).
Masks for Heroes (https://www.masksforheroes.com) has patterns for sewn and non-sewn masks, as well as an updated map of hospitals and care facilities that will accept donations.
WHEW! GO TEAM!
P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.