I can't assume that everyone reading this shares my political leanings, but it's a fair bet that most people in Chicago are reeling from the results of yesterday's presidential election.
Every day we confront problems bigger than ourselves: inequitable distribution of wealth, lack of access to education, racism, genetic manipulation of our food, and barbaric treatment of animals. Relentless materialism, and excessive dependence on foreign oil, even as wars, hunger and abject poverty plague huge numbers of people around the world. Unspeakable acts committed against human being by other human (?!) beings in the name of god or profit. Leagues of orphaned, desperately poor and enslaved children. The world run by corporate greed. And every day we face despair, because we can't see how these problems will ever be solved, how we can free our children from dragging the same burdens through yet another generation. Many of us can and do and should throw our energy behind causes we believe in, and support efforts to improve life on earth for everyone. But it is hard to see if those efforts have made any difference.
Ultimately, we only have control over our own actions, and that can seem insignificant. I recently found comfort in the following quote by Barbara Kingsolver: "I believe our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own back yards, and that salvation may lie in those places, too." (emphasis added). Rather than relying on solutions handed down from above, I will start to look for them in my own corner of the universe. In my quest for a saner, kinder, calmer, more sustainable, more livable life, I too, in my small way turn to things that I hope will contribute to a saner, kinder, calmer, more sustainable, and more livable community.
Get out of the house, into the garden, onto the street.
Walk, bike, interact.
Talk to neighbors.
Reach out to people different from me.
Listen listen to others, especially if their views differ from mine.
Be with my children.
Build a community. Support it. Engage in it.
Watch it grow.
Watch it flower.
Be better than despair. Be the best you you can possibly be. If everyone's actions consistently mirrored their best, most noble, most closely held beliefs and values, how different would that world be from the one we currently inhabit?