I’ll admit. It’s been difficult to open up my computer lately, to scroll through the timelines of social media on my phone. Facebook walls are filled with contempt and hate, vile slung from one keyboard to another in a home far away. It feels overwhelming. Injustice. Retaliation. Misdirected hate and fear. Intolerance. Bits of truth dotting the “i’s” in lies. I search for words that might help illuminate the things I believe. The inequities that seem so apparent. I want to contribute something, anything of use to help steer us out of the darkness. I share articles, send links, sign petitions. Yet nothing seems of value. No images speak loud enough. No hashtag can singlehandedly elicit concrete change. No facts or history or statistics are enough to bring about progress as quickly as we’d like. There’s no singular path to healing.
Sometimes, it’s all a person can do to not want to throw in the towel altogether, isn’t it? To want to turn off the connection to the outside world and hibernate in the safety and calm of my own mind. To let the world spin right off its own axis while inching through the immediacy of this life directly in front of me…days filled with nursery rhymes, making comic books, fixing a toddler snack for the 3rd time. Some days I wonder what the future will bring. As a parent, it’s hard not to wonder what the world could possibly hold for our children when it seems we are so split apart.
But then, in the midst of the sadness and confusion and violence, I remember this isn’t the world we are leaving our children with. We are all living in the middle of a construction site. A strong foundation takes time. Currently, we are uprooting centuries of deep, shameful inequalities and close-minded beliefs that have unfairly colored the way society is painted for so many for too long. We’re chipping away at surfaces that contain hazardous concepts beneath, while trying to avoid breathing them in. We’re standing waist deep in upheaval at every turn, but we are laying groundwork for a space that everyone can call home…where everyone is included no matter the color of your skin, who you love, the body you were born with, the god you may or may not believe in. Someday, we have to believe that after every movement, every swing and crash, every step forward and back, this world we are rebuilding for our children will be stronger than ever.
In these moments, it might seem like a bigger mess than we started with. It’s so ugly that it becomes unbearable, at times. But as it’s happening, progress is not much to look at. It’s important to remind ourselves that we’re witnesses and catalysts to change with every action we take, no matter how small. I believe this generation as a whole isn’t looking to return to some fabled time of splendor and disproportionate success. We aren’t willing to gild a dark, exclusive past in nostalgia. We aren’t looking back and we demand that anyone coming along for the ride is looking forward too. We refuse to accept that inverted notions are something passed down through generations: We are the builders of the reality we envision for our children. We want better and we’re not afraid to work for it.
So let’s keep working, friends…one brick at a time.