What do you do when the world is on fire?
Of all the stories I’ve ever read, I never imagined living through this particular one. And the middle of the story is where all the darkness and confusion is, and it would be all too easy to give up in the face of overwhelming darkness. I mean, the odds look bad, the risk looks big, and how much can one person do anyway?
I feel the pain of these days in my body. The tensions I don’t realize I’m holding until I have muscle spasms, the tears that are readily available for almost anything because my heart feels like it’s breaking all the time.
I feel the fear of these days nipping at my heels. The violence rendered by some who have been radicalized and feel it is their right to steal the lives of others on a whim to spread terror and to dishearten those in the fight to protect the most vulnerable among us.
I feel it, dear ones, and I know you feel it too.
The world is on fire, literally and figuratively, and it all feels too big and it would be oh so easy to give up hope. Or for those of us with privilege, we could withdraw into our respective spheres and hope the fire doesn’t reach us. Hope that someone else will sort all this out and we and our families will be okay.
But I have news for you, beloved. This fire will leave no one untouched. For if we choose to shrink from it into our own spheres and hope for the best, let someone else sort it out, then the fire will have stolen part of our humanity from us. It will leave us a partial imprint of our former shells, a shallow soul who’s lost the empathy that keeps us all looking out for our neighbors.
So what do you do when the world is on fire?
Grab a bucket.
If we all grab some kind of bucket–no matter how small–every day, we can fight this fire together. I truly believe that.
Everyone’s bucket might look different, everyone’s capacity is different, and that is okay. The important part is that we all do something.
And don’t let yourselves get isolated. We have to hold onto each other now and in the days ahead for I’ve read too many of these stories and they tend to get worse before they get better. You cross Mordor and you still have to climb Mt. Doom. You’ve destroyed all the horcruxes only to discover there’s one more. You go back triumphant to the Shire and discover it’s still overrun by orcs that have to be driven out before you can truly live in peace.
But “even the smallest person can change the course of history,” and “all we have to decide what to do with the time that is given us.”
So grab a bucket, grab your people, and move forward, one step, one day at a time.