Photo: I know I shouldn’t let the boys play with sticks, but it’s the last Friday before school and I just don’t have anymore “no, don’t do that” in me. So, you know, get a splinter. That’ll learn ya!
My Quiet Thoughts this Friday are likely where your own Quiet Thoughts are: a divided mind, split between the urgency of a life in motion, and the ongoing and tragic surge of need growing in Texas. How to balance, how to do right, how to be present for the here and now, how to be open to help those neighbors who are far away? My Quiet Thoughts are, indeed, quiet: little prayers given throughout the day as yet another story comes across my feed or television, and calls for help from from all corners and from many. So many.
I’m sitting here on my porch steps, watching my boys run around their exquisite play fort, dusty from the dry dirt that they were just playing in. We haven’t seen significant rain for a little while. The boys have used this last week of carefree life to get dirty from head to toe. I sit here feeling both grateful and guilty. There is something that feels wrong about my boys’ gleeful play knowing that so many other children are uncomfortable at best, desperate and clinging to life at worst.
I’m reminded that guilt does not do anything. It’s an empty and useless emotion. Better to serve and prepare in the good times, pray without ceasing in the bad, and then gratefully accept help when it’s time to rebuild. So this week, I’ve done my best to cultivate giving spirits in my two boys, collecting and giving goods to two of the local organizations that I’ve chosen to champion, and then giving money to the Red Cross and the Episcopal Relief Fund, but preparing to do more when the call goes up to start sending the next wave of goods and supplies. This is a disaster that requires a commitment to give more than once. I currently plan to give at least twice: first financially because that’s what is being asked for right now, the second will be with a physical give (either school supplies for displaced children, baby supplies for the smallest of us all, or feminine care products to Support The Girls). If there is an opportunity to sew blankets or otherwise put my skills to use to provide comfort in a more personal way, I hope to participate in that, too. Finally, it’s my hope that we might be able to open our door to a dog or cat in need of a new home. There are a bunch of shelters and organizations in Texas being inundated with both animals and support. Austin Pets Alive is the one I’m paying the most attention to.
If you’ve come across a relief organization that you are choosing to support, please share.
There is a chilly, dry air blowing here in Massachusetts. We’ve had a few chilly nights this week, and tomorrow morning it will be 42 degrees. My burning bush has a full branch of red leaves on it, and some of the early-warning trees in the neighborhood are starting their transition from mature green to orangy brown. There are hot days ahead for sure, with 80s forecast next week… but make no mistake: inevitable change is in the air.
On this Friday, filled with so much anxiety and anticipation, I sit here thinking about what I wish for you. I wish for you the joy of opening up your heart in service to others, and I wish for you to have a few encouraging words to spur others to do the same. Then I wish you the satisfaction of knowing your contribution is enough. That doing something, an action taken with fullness of mind and heart, is enough. Tell others to do the same: to commit to taking action, but then allowing that action to take its course before taking another. There will always be more opportunities to do more. I wish you a peaceful time to recenter, to think; to light a candle and pray if you are so inclined or simply to find a stillness and clarity during this transition time between summer and fall. I wish you a moment of humility; accepting the kind words, supportive gift, or sincerely given advice of a person who loves you. I wish you something nourishing: food prepared by skillful hands, coffee delivered by your intimate partner first thing in the morning, a freshly baked treat from your favorite friend. Eat it slowly, thoughtfully. Let it be more than simple food, but something that takes you to another place or spurs something in you to try something new. I wish you poetry, words that write on your heart to inspire you to move forward or to settle you in the storm. Reclaim some of your time, Dear Reader. Give yourself the gift of a little time this weekend. You cannot be a shining light in the darkness for others if you don’t take the time to care a bit for yourself. Always draw from the knowledge that you are loved, profoundly, and what you do in this world matters to more people than you could possibly know. Trust in your infinite beauty, then lift up your light so that others may find their own way on the path we’re all walking together.
I’m taking Monday off to enjoy this one last weekend of summer with my two boys. When I write to you on Wednesday, I’ll be a mom enjoying her first days of a new school year. Wish us all luck!
Until Wednesday, reach out, shine brightly and take care.