Solidarity for a Regular Life
I’ve started this post three or four times. Isn’t it hard when you have something important bubbling but can’t find the awareness you need to make sense of it?
I am wondering about solidarity. I’m sure theologians and sociologists could offer an academic explanation of terminology and framework and concepts. I am wondering about solidarity for a regular life. I think solidarity is standing with some specific kind of suffering in the belief that joy will soon come. In my Christian way of thinking about it – solidarity is witnessing Good Friday with faith and anticipation of the peace of Easter.
So, what I’m struggling with is this: how much of solidarity is action? how much of solidarity is prayer or contemplation? are sort of transcendental acts of solidarity [like wearing a bracelet to remind you of someone, like dedicating your yoga practice] as powerful or more powerful than simple, intentional acts? Does any of that really matter? Is it your heart that matters?
What’s going on in my mind has something to do with feeling like I need to be more present to Albert. Most of the time, I feel pretty good that I am doing what I can do. Mostly, I feel like a responsible horse owner. He lives at a great place. He is well cared for. He loves his field mates. The farrier and the vet take good preventive care of him. I am working extra hard to afford him because I brought him into our family ten years ago and this is where he belongs.
BUT. Is that enough?
What’s going on in my gut has something to do with feeling helpless about the Gulf. Most of the time, I feel solid that I am doing what I can to reduce our family’s dependency on oil [and coal, too, because we love our mountains]. Mostly, I feel nice and green. We drive a hybrid. We grow food. We turn lights out and buy wind power off-sets.
BUT. Is that enough?
What’s going on in my heart has something to do with feeling like I, too, have left the rebuilding and recovery of Haiti to no one. Sometimes, I rationalize that I do enough by talking about Haiti, by giving modestly to the American Red Cross and Partners In Health.
BUT. That is not enough.
One person can’t do everything.
Remember that starfish story? A little kid is walking down the beach, where there are thousands of starfish washed up. The kid knows the starfish need to get back in the water or they will die. So, he starts chucking them one at a time back into the sea. The boy passes a man, who tells him, “There’s no point to what you’re doing. There are too many starfish to save. You are hardly making a difference.” And, the boy picks up a starfish and throws it into the water. “It made a difference to that one,” he tells the man and continues on, doing what he can do.
So, maybe, doing what you can do with a loving heart is solidarity for a regular life. I know these things are important to me: being Albert’s companion, being a better citizen of the earth, and being a part of the solution for Haiti. There are few things more things I can do, then, with a loving heart:
I can get out to see Albert at least once every week and spend time with him. I can help my daughter get out there once a week, too.
I can write a letter to my congressional representatives asking about the long-term plan for Haiti.
I can call a family meeting to make a plan for reducing our oil/gas/coal usage even more. And, I can also sign-up with Audubon to help the Gulf birds recover from the BP disaster.