BACK IN THE CITY for a conference, I remember what it was like to live in one. East-side Chicago and downtown Los Angeles, my home for ten years, have different views but are the same in many ways.
Everyone is going somewhere. Runners, walkers, people heading to work, visitors, shopkeepers, homeless, all together. Energy everywhere. Beautiful buildings. Tiny stores and restaurants tucked into places you least expect. Diversity, getting along.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I never thought about mass deaths. In Chicago, after the horrendous things happening around the world, I did.
On the stage, at the conference I was attending, more than one black person told stories of how life was, and is, for them. Different than mine growing up in a small college town where white was all I knew, and safety was taken for granted.
I heard the idea that stories would be the only thing that changes people’s minds, and how things are. I listened as skilled storytellers told their stories, as professional storytellers cried on stage as they, and we, tried to understand what we could do to change the hearts and minds and actions of people steeped in fear and hate.
I asked myself if the stories we share would ever be enough. Will the stories you share ever be enough?
I asked myself, “What can I do to make a difference?”
This summer I have gone to a writer’s retreat in the hopes of becoming a better writer. I am taking a course on Adobe Illustrator in hopes of becoming a better artist. (I had to resist putting the word artist in quotes.) I wrote this message in a hotel room after attending the podcasters convention in Chicago with sixteen hundred other podcasters, in the hopes of sharing a better podcast.
Now with all that information, I am asking, “How do I fit it all into me trying to make a difference?”
I know I am not alone. Aren’t we all asking that question, and if you aren’t, shouldn’t you be?
We can’t be indifferent. We can not take sides. We can not, can not, can not, succumb to hate and fear. We have to learn how to understand each other. Listen to each other’s stories.
Hate and fear disappear into compassion when we understand.
We have to shift our point of view, and our lives, from a dualist and separate point of view, to one of understanding that we are all one.
I do hope to become a better writer, a better artist, a better podcaster because that is the way I hope to make a difference and bring light to the darkness of false beliefs.
Each of us has a gift meant to make a difference. Can I encourage you to use it now for the good of everyone?
Tell your story. Listen to other people’s stories. Together we can understand and make a difference in moving the world from hate and fear to love and kindness.
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
Don’t lose heart. Gain strength and courage from others who choose to do good. No matter how you choose to share love and kindness, it will be appreciated. It will make a difference.
It’s something only you can do. Do it now.