Yesterday I took the best trip to the grocery store I’ve ever taken because I had the opportunity to buy groceries for Keith Polite, a man impacted by the government shutdown. He’s been a security guard at one of the Smithsonian museums here in New York City for 4 years, and the museum is closed until the government reopens. Because he’s a contractor, he won’t receive any back pay. I heard about his story through the local CBS broadcast, and decided I had to help. Another viewer also helped and was able to meet with Keith about a possible job opportunity. I’m really hoping that works out for him.
I hope this one small act inspires all of us to help one another during this difficult time. There’s so much we can do right where we are for the people around us. We’re all walking each other home. Here’s the news piece that ran about Keith if you’d like to see it:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.” -Fred Rogers
I keep coming back to this. I’m so glad we had Mister Rogers. I wish we still did. I’m so grateful for his example. The helpers help us to keep going. And we can follow their lead. No matter how bad things are, we will always feel better, be better, and make the world better if we decide to be the helpers we’re looking for. Nothing gets better unless we get better, and we have the power to do that. Right now, right where we are, with exactly what we have. There is always a way to help. So let’s find it.
The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I’ve been thinking about this poem a lot lately. I’ve been listening to the anxiety and sadness of my friends, and of the world. I’m struggling a little to find the best ways to help as many people as I can, as well as I can. And sometimes that desire to help, that feeling that I’m just not doing enough to that end, overwhelms me. So a poem like this that reminds me to find comfort in nature, seen and unseen, and always felt, helps me breathe a little easier. Once I have my breath again, I can keep going, doing as much as I can with what I have. And knowing that that is enough.
“We’re all just walking each other home.” ~Ram Dass
This week I spent time with graduate students at Cornell Tech, helping them with their product development portfolio projects, and with a friend who needed some advice about how to move forward in a difficult professional situation. In both these instances, I felt alive being able to offer help, support, and advice. These circumstances reminded me of this quote by Ram Dass. If we aren’t helping each other through this life, then what’s the point, right?
My 2018 resolution can be summed up in one word: Yes. My friend, Ria, recently told me about an article she read in which the author explained that when you commit to saying yes, your day ends up in a completely different place than where it started. And I’m all for that. Yes to:
I’m going to make 2018 the best year of my life so far in every way. And I’m going to lift others as I rise. We’re doing this.