You have been created in order that you might make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world. -Andy Andrews
Last night our doorbell rang.
Which was a shock, because it never does. At least, not outside delivery hours.
I had just emerged from a 1.5 hour conference call and was
stuffing my face with food eating dinner.
So when the doorbell rang again, I pestered my husband to answer.
They’ll leave, he said.
I gave him the side-eye (with love).
He answered the door.
I heard some perky banter, happy voices, the door front door closing, and then he came back into the kitchen to deliver a note to my son.
The neighbor kid across the street had written a note challenging my son to identify a Pokemon character based on clues he had scrawled in pencil at the top of an accordian-folded sheet of notebook paper.
It was a quiz of sorts.
Challenge accepted! (My son is a Pokemon expert. Trust me on this one.)
He then spent the next 30 minutes or so writing a new challenge to give back to the neighbor this morning.
It made his night.
It made our night, too.
So, this morning as I mulled over how/when to deliver this response-quiz to the neighbors, it occurred to me.
My goodness, how simple.
How easy. How fulfilling.
Just to do something kind. Not for the sake of anything other than … having fun. Or being nice.
No hidden agenda, no desire to persuade. Just for the sake of it.
Because, why not?
You know, there’s … umm … a lot going on these days.
We’re living through unprecedentedly unprecedented times. And there’s something about living the pages of history that is … unsettling.
(Am I the only one?)
But here’s the thing: living through these crazy times, we should all be completely doom and gloom.
But we’re not.
At least, not all the time.
Life should be gray.
But it’s not.
At least, not all the time.
And the reason it’s not a 24-hour wet blanket of gray and gloomy is not because we’ve conquered any of the million things that are going wrong. Because we haven’t.
It’s because we’re living in an era of Small Deeds.
Now, I’ll grant you that part of our survival is due to an amazing evolutionary trick that allows us humans to adapt quickly to stressful environments …
But as impersonal as some things have become, the importance of the personal has become greater.
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.
A little note from one neighbor boy to another makes a child’s day, and makes his family’s day brighter by extension.
It’s just so simple.
Government can’t dictate our humanity. Political parties don’t determine morality.
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, wherever we are.
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.
And the greatest of these – hope.
Time moves faster than normal these days. But know that I think of you often. I appreciate you.
No doubt we’ll get through these years.
But let’s live them, not just survive them.
And let’s get to work.
*PS: If you recall, a few years ago we did a series on mental health that culminated in a post about Hope. It’s worth revisiting. You can do that HERE.
Actions for the Week of March 22, 2022
Call Your Senators: Support Ketanji Brown Jackson
Well, we all knew it would happen – though that hasn’t made it any easier to watch. A fantastic, phenomenal jurist is being maligned because she’s (1) black (2) a woman and (3) nominated by a Democrat.
So this week, please call your Senators and ask them to support her nomination. If you are in a red state, don’t skip this one. YES it matters.
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at [zip code]. I’m asking the Senator to support Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. She’s phenomenal, exceptionally qualified, and deserving of a seat on the Court. Thanks.
Creatives: Join the Creative Support Team
If you are a creative (designer, writer, photographer, social media guru, video person) the Creative Support Team is a 100% volunteer group that provides high quality creative and communication services (for free!!) to Democratic candidates running in state and local elections across the country.
Since 2017, they’ve assisted over 100 candidates with a host of creative projects including website development, social media assessments and recommendations, design of mailers and leave behind cards, and writing and editing of everything from website text to radio scripts.
Right now, CST is gearing up for the critical 2022 election cycle. In the wake of the 2020 election and significant redistricting, the stakes couldn’t be higher. They are working to establish relationships with state Democratic parties and state-level progressive groups to get the word out about their services. And they are working to build a volunteer base. If you have friends or colleagues who would like to join CST, please send them here: www.creativesupportteam.com/volunteer
What they’re looking for
- Web Designers
- Graphic Designers
- Social Media Strategists
- Video Editors
They’ll reach out to volunteers with the needed skill set to make a match with candidates.
Every Sunday they will send a CST in Action email to share accomplishments, what they are working on, and any unmet needs.
Check them out: https://creativesupportteam.com/mission
Join Indivisible for the Let’s Go Joe Livestream on Wednesday, March 23 at 6:00pm EDT / 3:00pm PDT
From Indivisible: It’s within President Biden’s authority to deliver critical proposals like lowering prescription drug prices, canceling student debt, climate action, and much more. But it’s up to us to demand it.
We’re prioritizing executive action in two key areas that we already know are extremely popular, politically possible, and that align with Indivisible’s core advocacy issues: Climate Action and Canceling Student Debt. BUT we anticipate that we will add calls to action on more executive actions in the future.
Join us at the Let’s Go Joe livestream on Wednesday, March 23 at 6:00pm EDT / 3:00pm PDT to learn more about how executive actions can translate into immediate improvements to people’s lives. RSVP HERE: https://act.indivisible.org/signup/rsvp-lets-go-joe-livestream/?t=6&akid=75292%2E2783%2E6tUm_B
See on Netflix: Servant of the People:
You almost certainly know already that the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was a comedian and actor before becoming the leader of that country.
Netflix has just re-released his sitcom about being president, called The Servant of the People. My husband and I watched the first one, and it’s really funny! Check it out: https://www.netflix.com/title/80119382
The power of the message:
If you’re not already a subscriber to Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s Substack newsletter, Lucid, may I suggest you give her a follow?
That done, I’d also suggest that – if you’ve not yet watched it – you check out Arnold’s video message to Russians. It’s an emotional, powerful message that hearkens back to the message that he recorded after January 6. I think if you have watched both you will see paralels.
Well, in her most recent Substack message Ruth detailed the reception Arnold’s video has received from Russians. She also notes that many of the “tactics” (and in case you’ve not yet seen Arnold’s video, trust me that it doesn’t feel like it’s using “tactics” or that it’s gimmicky in any way) he uses “counter-messaging techniques that have proved effective in reaching populations under the sway of authoritarian propaganda and leader cults.“
Ah? Oh. Mmm. Sound like something we should become familiar with? I think so, too.
Check out her analysis of the video HERE.
Check out Arnold’s video HERE.
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 email! We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.