coffee and toast ©DGreco

Wars.

Rumors of Wars.

Floods.

Droughts.

Famines.

Fires.

Sexual abuse.

Systemic racism.

The loss of a good friend.

My spirit is heavy. My body exhausted. I can only read one or two news stories before feeling totally overwhelmed.

I’m not a power broker, a policy maker, or anyone of influence. That reality is both disempowering—and deceiving. I might not have the capacity to stop sexual abuse or end systemic racism but I can do something. In fact, almost all of us can do something to counteract injustice, soften harshness, and ease the pain that those around us are shouldering.

I think of my friend Dave who is battling cancer and yet has become an outspoken advocate for health care reform.

My neighbor Sue who spends more than a few days each month feeding folks or driving friends to their medical appointments.

Another neighbor Judy, despite her own serious health issues, devotes hours and much energy to keeping the local food pantry shelves well stocked.

Natasha mentors young women of color.

Christopher and I have recently started volunteering in a nearby prison. (I hesitate to add this as we’re only a few weeks in and others have been doing prison work for years.) It’s a maximum security prison where some of the men have spent most of their lives. We’re not starry eyed. We don’t think we’ll change the system. However, we do hope that we can remind these men they have not been forgotten and perhaps ease their loneliness.

I recently traveled to Los Angeles to attend a dear friend’s funeral. He was a remarkable man who always extended himself to others. I heard story after story of how Anacleto mentored, served, encouraged, and taught. Always with humility and joy.

I want to challenge you to do one thing this week to alleviate suffering, serve someone, or counteract hatred/injustice. And then do it again next week until it becomes a habit.

It does not have to be something newsworthy. While in SoCal, each morning my friend Jeff made his wife coffee and toast for breakfast. So simple yet his thoughtfulness communicated love and affection. The world would be a much better place if each of us made such choices on a regular basis.

Anyone can post something on social media or pop off about how awful the political system is. Let’s put some skin on it.