It’s a warm and sunny Fall Wednesday in the City of Angels. Wednesday, November 4, 2020, to be exact. The day after the national election that drew the largest voter turnout in the history of the United States of America. I’m having a hard time imagining anyone who isn’t filled with anxiety as we await declarations of victory that will inform the next four years….and what feels like the fate of our nation.
I gave myself permission today to step away from the anxiety and my immediate responsibilities for an hour or so to breathe, read and reflect. Reading has always provided me with solace and opportunity to get out of my own thoughts and explore alternative views. During this afternoon’s brain break I captured a few great notes, on Post-its, that are bringing me comfort and hopefully will do the same for you.
1. Hope is a revolutionary act.
The election turnout and subsequent analysis has proven deeply disturbing, and enlightening, for many of us. At this moment I have never felt more grateful to be living in my Liberal-leaning, multicultural bubble of Los Angeles, California. I’ve also never been so incredibly aware of how truly divided our nation is and that my personal definitions of justice, liberty and truth are not shared by millions of my fellow Americans. It breaks my heart and fills me with fear and yet, I have hope.
Is it naïve or idealistic to be so full of hope that we can, and will, do better by one another? Perhaps. But, I fancy myself a graceful disruptor, a seeker and truth teller.
There are others like me and, as we have witnessed, there is power in numbers.
2. Power is the ability to achieve purpose.
This statement is an excerpt from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Words spoken a generation ago that ring true, and helped me get grounded, today. What we do for work, the relationships we engage in and choose to nurture, even the content we create and share online can all be evidence of, and steps taken towards, achieving purpose.
I work in the social sector as a professional fundraiser and nonprofit executive. I am steeped in mission-driven work that addresses social injustices and purposeful activity every day. I am so grateful to be reminded that my actions, my investment of time, my commitments are all whispers of my ability to fulfill an important purpose. How powerful is that?
“Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. Perhaps we are not broken, but broken open.
So this one didn’t come from reading, but from listening. Specifically to Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast interview with, NY Times Bestselling author, Elizabeth Lesser. They talked at length about how the most resilient among us are those that have been through tremendous adversity, and it made me think. What if we’re on the precipice of a breakthrough to real, lasting growth? Could it be that we’re living through a moment that will be studied by future generations? The years when we were broken wide open, when all the festering pain and hatred was exposed. When we, as a nation, took a good long look at what we’re doing to each other, and the rest of the world, and decided to do better.
Perhaps this is our opportunity to heal, to start recovering from our collective wounds, to hold ourselves accountable for the health and well being of our neighbors in order to become stronger and more resilient. Maybe this is where the light gets in…