Yesterday, after 1 hour of listening to NPR news in the car, I was mad. I walked into the house and looked in the mirror at my tight eyes, furrowed brow, grumpy mouth. I am sure you know the feeling. And perhaps the look.
I don’t like it when I get that particular kind of mad.
It feels suspiciously like being a victim.
I prefer my tears for the migrant children taken from their parents, or the sick, sad feeling of heartbreak when I read of the diminishing environmental protections in our country.
An open heart is often a breaking heart and yet still, it is what I try hard to choose. This open heart allows me to melt at the beauty of the summer flowers and trees. It lets me feel wide open love for my nieces and nephews, and joy when the soccer players in Thailand are rescued.
My open heart lets me feel a sense of connection with many, many others—like you. Even sitting alone in my home in Portland, I know I am part of a giant, global web of caring.
- I watch the sit-in at the Portland ICE headquarters
- The persons driving the newly released mother across the country to see her children
- I see a picture of a six year old girl who, with a lemonade stand, raised $3,000 for the separated families.
Yet, sometimes I find an open heart just isn’t enough.
A cancer diagnosis got me dreaming of Africa. In my time with the women of Mapusha I learned again and again that, what appear to be unsolvable problems often create the necessity for radical—out of the box—solutions. When I heard that their studio of 40 years was being repossessed by their beloved Catholic church, my anger became the fuel. I was galvanized into fundraising so we could build the new studio of their dreams.
Action is a sure fire cure for helplessness, the helplessness of the angry “victim.’” It can be the catalyst that moves us to become ever more fully part of a force for change.
The current climate in our country has inspired me to become a volunteer for Girls Inc. I am always heartened by these spunky 12 year olds. I am looking to work with a group giving immigrant children the chance to create art. I’m considering a Meetup for women who want to move their hopes into action. If you have some great hints as to how to transform anger into action—do share in the comments below or email me!
Of course you do your absolute best to find and hone and wield your divine gifts against the dark. You do your best to reach out tenderly to touch and elevate as many people as you can reach. You bring your naked love and defiant courage and salty grace to bear as much as you can, with all the attentiveness and humor you can muster; this is, after all, a miracle in which we live, and we ought to pay ferocious attention every moment, if possible.—Brian Doyle