This week’s blog was slated to be about initiating change in organizations. And as I sit down to write it, a few hours after I heard about the tragic events in Las Vegas, the words won’t come.
I’m overwhelmingly sad.
Because while Javelina’s purpose is change – social, political and economic change to advance equality and human dignity – there are days where that kind of change seems impossible. There are days – and we’ve had more of them than usual lately – where change seems so mind-bendingly, frustratingly out of reach that it seems useless to even try to reach for it.
What do we do when change seems impossible?
What do we do when the things happening in our communities, in our country, in our world bring into sharp reality how large our problems loom, how deep our divides run, and how far away any solutions feel?
I can only think of three things.
Be kind. Show kindness to those who are suffering. Show kindness to those impacted by this senseless assault. Show kindness to those impacted by tragedy, whether or not their grief is headline news. Show kindness to each other just for the sake of being kind. Show kindness to ourselves.
Be grateful. Have gratitude for the gifts we have and the people that stand next to us when everything seems lost. When hope is lost, gratitude can be the fuel to keep us going.
Love. Love your friends, family, neighbors. Love those right next to you and those far away. Love those you know and those you don’t. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
When all seems lost, moments of kindness, gratitude and love serve as gentle reminders that – in fact – all is not lost. They bring into focus all that is worthwhile. They can be the light at the end of the tunnel, even if you have to squint to see it. In kindness, gratitude and love is the strength and the camaraderie to keep going until the life-saving change we are striving for is realized.
Because change seeming unreachable doesn’t mean we stop reaching. Change is never going to be an easy thing to make happen, and there are going to be all kinds of bends and pit stops on the way. When your energy supplies to keep fighting seem depleted, treat yourself to some kindness, love and gratitude. Spend time with other people doing the same thing. And together, we keep marching on.