“So this is what you meant
When you said that you were spent
And now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit, right to the top
Don’t hold back…
…This road never looked so lonely
Oh this house doesn’t burn down slowly
It’s time to begin, isn’t it?”“It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons
It’s time for us to mourn the great void that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left, and that John Lewis left earlier this year. We have lost 2 giant champions for equality, and it hurts so deeply.
We are scared. We are sad. We feel hopeless.
Last weekend, I wrote about how angry and tired I was – and that was BEFORE the horrible news about RBG’s passing. The news was devastating, and like so many others I was immediately filled with fear and dread of what may come to pass.
One of my big “ah-ha’s” after my last post came from watching Fred Guttenberg discussing his new book “Find the Helpers…What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope.” Guttenberg lost his brother to cancer incurred from 9/11 and months later lost his 14-year old daughter Jaime in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I pre-ordered the book after listening to him talk about how he is working through his horrific losses through the kindness and compassion he has received from others as he has worked for change in our gun laws – and as he has become an advocate for Joe Biden. (Video here if you would like to watch: https://youtu.be/9-jF339-jdY).
His interview reminded me that I fortunate to have a community of helpers around me. Since publishing my last post, I have been reassured many times over that I am not alone. Let me reassure all of you – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
It is time for us to let John Lewis and RBG rest, and it is time for us to march on in their honor. We have no other choice. It is NOT TIME to give up hope. It is NOT TIME to be quiet. It is NOT TIME to give in to what may feel inevitable.
It is time to find your helpers.
It is time to link arms with each other – to help each other push forward. It is time to pick each other up, to carry those who feel weak, to encourage each other to get back up, and to KEEP ON MOVING. I have been encouraged, empowered, uplifted and seen by so many since my last post. I have even met some new friends – something that is not easy to do during a pandemic! I have been inspired and energized by my community of “helpers.” While I grieve the loss of my real life Wonder Woman, I gather strength when I visualize all of us with linked arms, working to save each other. I have seen several videos of people forming human chains to save a person or animal from drowning. Think of your helpers as this giant human chain that is here to prevent you from drowning in sorrow and hopelessness. Imagine the strength that flows through that chain to lift you up and to help you get up again.
I don’t know if this is “rock bottom.” I don’t know if this is the proverbial marathon “wall.” The way this year is going – I seriously doubt it. I am not the only one who keeps thinking that surely this is the turning point, and yet each and every day I am proven wrong.
I know it is daunting. I know it exhausting. Practice self-care, and find your helpers! We are here, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am one of your helpers – and I thank you for being one of mine. WE ARE NOT ALONE. We cannot give up, and we cannot give in.
“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Do not become bitter or hostile. Be hopeful. Be optimistic.”John Lewis
RBG didn’t just fight for women’s rights. She fought for all of us…for access to healthcare, for dreamers to stay in the only country they know as home, for LBGQT rights, for voting rights for all Americans. Let’s remember how all of us intersect as humans, and how all of these issues tie us together in some way. Imagine the strength in our numbers! Let’s leave no one behind, and remember the power we can wield when we act in solidarity.
Take a deep breath. If you are feeling weak and hopeless – think about who is out there to help you, and reach out for support. Close your eyes and imagine what is possible on the other side of this mess. Dig deep, pull up your big kid pants or your empowering socks, and keep going.
Dissent from surrendering. Dissent from hopelessness. John Lewis and RBG have left us with the tools we need, and have passed the baton to us. It is time.