To say the least, it’s been quite a year. Dare I say there is no human being on earth who is unaffected by some aspects of this year’s events: wildfires in Australia and California, the pandemic, racial discord in the United States, and the ongoing division and political debate over how best to approach these questions and now we face a choice. There have been natural disasters and human tragedies. I’m sure there are more around the world that I am not aware of. I wanted to put some thoughts down here and how I would like to participate in making the world a little better. I hope you will be patient and read through … this is not a political statement, it is my thoughts and how I came to the decision to start the return program here.
One of the things that made the pandemic and quarantine even more difficult for some is food insecurity. I’ve seen statistics that 40 million Americans initially lost their jobs. Some have returned, but requests for help in the pantries have increased enormously. I am glad that these services are there for those in need. It’s so heartbreaking to me: the idea that people are still hungry in a country with the wealth we have is unacceptable.
The June assassination of George Floyd sparked a new round of discussions on racial relations in our country. Unfortunately, some have turned to violence and suffering is increasing rather than decreasing. It feels like we are now in a cycle of protest and retaliation, lots of index fingers, lots of politicians trying to get to the top, just a lot. I have often felt that it is difficult 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 you are stuck in.
A quote that sticks in my mind from that time (I don’t remember where it came from / from whom) is: “Your world is not THE world”.
I love this because it’s a reminder to BELIEVE in the voices of those who speak up. You or I may never have experienced food insecurity, homelessness, or discrimination so it can be easy to overcome the plight of others. It’s easy to forget about the little perks that helped us get where we are, or having it a bit easier. It is easy to take for granted the opportunities we enjoy when we are born in a particular zip code, with a particular skin color, or to our particular parents.
“Your world is not THE world”
I hope that a little reminder will help us all open our hearts to one another. To remember that it doesn’t matter WHY someone else is fighting, just that they need our help and if we are able to, we should come forward.
I will end up with an experience I will never forget. It wasn’t life changing or huge, but it made a huge impact on me.
My younger brother died suddenly and very unexpectedly in February of this year. My family is uniquely close … although we don’t all live close together, we often communicate, visit as much as possible and really enjoy special bonds. My mother, my siblings and I were / are devastated by his loss. For one of the first days after returning home from his funeral, I was at my gym doing my usual morning time on the elliptical. In deep sorrow I felt like I was stuck in quicksand. I felt weak, sad, and generally not myself, but I was doing my workout. It was kind of the last place I wanted to be.
In the locker room, when I was getting my coat and changing my shoes, a young woman (she happened to be a colored person) gave me a big smile and basically said, “Man, you are GOALS on the elliptical! I hope I can do it one day! “. Her beaming demeanor, her smile and her kind words were exactly the boost I needed at that moment. Obviously, it didn’t bring me to the surface of the abyss I was in, but this brief, friendly interaction got me out of myself for a moment. She had no way of knowing what I was feeling or what grief I was experiencing, but she took the opportunity to say good things to a stranger and made a difference.
I hope our first instinct is kindness and generosity.
Since we’ve been wearing masks, the thing that strikes me the most is smiling at people. What a loss when we all need smiles more than ever.
During the summer I thought a lot about how I would try to make a little difference. I would love to be more involved in my community and do something big, but I have a lot more heart than time. To start with, I would like to use my platform at Color Girl to help at least those in need. It’s a small step, but hopefully one that will help someone.
Since hunger is one thing that matters to me and affects people of all kinds, 5% of all sales from the shop here are donated to the organization this month No child is hungry. You can read more about them and give directly, Here, if you want.
I hope you take these words in the spirit in which they are intended. I think we can all make the world a little brighter. We can’t see each other’s smiles right now, so let’s show our love and generosity of spirit in other ways.
If you know of an organization that is working to make our world a better place, please share it. We could make you the next recipient of Colorful Quilters Giving Back.
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