What Matters Most?
I found an Anne Lamott Facebook entry the other day and recognized her thoughts in it were reminiscent of a blog post I wrote back in November 2016, just after the election. I read my piece again today and decided to post it again because, even without reference to the election, Anne confirms and echoes what I was feeling then and now about what really matters.
I’m hoping “What Matters the Most?” will resonate with all of us eight months later when American life has got even more complicated.
“I've written a lot about how we will survive and transcend and reverse the current reality--serve the poor, pick up litter, register voters, donate as you can, do radical self-care. There are a lot of thirsty people we can get water for, beginning with our annoying mealy-mouthed selves. Left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe.” Anne Lamott
Six Areas to I Want to Do Better On
I admire so much those who fight for the rights of the dispossessed, care about the welfare of children, and persist in exposing and opposing wrongs. I’m all for women seeking paid maternity leaves and equal rights in the marketplace - wish I’d had them way back when. But as I listen to rant after rant streaming down the Facebook pages, view tweets leaping off the screen, and see protesters marching in the streets, I can’t help wondering if there aren’t really important things to focus on in addition to fighting for our freedoms.Things that may have even a deeper affect in the long run. I asked myself these questions:
1. Have I sat quietly and prayed for all those in authority? Have I meditated on love, joy, peace, reconciliation, seeking a right attitude for when I go out among grieving or jubilant citizens? Have I lifted up to my God the burdens too great for me to handle alone? Have I extended mercy to even my enemies? Have I yet forgiven my oppressors?
2. How are my children? Are they standing by, frightened at what they see in my eyes? Anger, rage, hatred spewing from my lips? Do they wonder if they are next in line for my wrath? Have they spent too much time alone while I march in the streets, making a difference? Have I hugged them near and whispered how all will be just fine because “nothin’s gonna harm you, not while I’m around?” (Sondheim, Sweeney Todd)
3. Have I taken time out to be intimate and loving to my partner, assuring him/her of my care, no matter the world's outcome? Have we talked over how we will walk together even when events do not favor us?
4. Have I extended hope to a real live actual minority person who has been assaulted? Have I found a way to help one bullied child? Have I encouraged a small business owner whose livelihood has been taken away by government policy? Have I visited a friend I know is walking in fear alone?
5. Have I cared for myself? Am I eating right? Sleeping right? Taking in the fall air, running through a sun-drenched park? What one thing a week can I do to strengthen my faith in good outcomes?
6. In what state are my work affairs? Who’s manning the store? Have I fulfilled my promise to my employer to be on the job 100% and not use his time to social-media or news-seek my day away. Are others depending on me? In what shape is that vital presentation due at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning?
My hope is that, in addition to caring for public issues that matter, we will take care of the deeper matters, and in doing so, bring a deeper healing.
Thank you, Anne, for confirming my thoughts. You often do.