There are bills to pay, songs to record, projects that are overdue, a generation of children starving to death in Yemen, school programs to rush to, children to raise, exhausted asylum seekers running from tear gas, women still earning less than $0.79 cents on the dollar compared to our male counterparts, a planet that’s screaming for healing from climate change, and a dear friend who just lost someone else to suicide.
And that’s just today’s list.
My heart hurts. It aches. When days like this come, it feels like I might never be able to sing again. It’s all so much. The constant pressure and drive to succeed. The “wrong” we see and hear about all around us. It makes me want to throw myself into social justice work, sell all my possessions and head to the front lines, find a cure for cancer and heal the deep racial divides (still) plaguing our country.
How? I’m just one woman. One person. 5’ 9” with shoes on. Not to mention I have no law degree, cape, magic wand or super powers.
But what I DO have, what’s right here in front of me, is a garden I CAN tend. The garden I can actually touch.
It looks like the kids I’m raising, the friends I have the honour of holding pain with, the wildly empathetic heart burning in my chest. (BTW, you have one too.) It’s the neighbors I check on, the art I make, the music we write, the pride I feel when I exercise my right to vote in local elections and when take my girls to the food bank to help. Healing all the pain in our world seems so overwhelming…completely impossible. But I know that our tiniest efforts to simply “do good” compile and multiply like fishes and loaves. I have to believe every drop counts, every inch forward is momentum and that when I treat the people in front of me and the life around me with care and compassion, well, I have to believe that spreads. That it somehow chips away at the broken systems that so often seem to harm those they were designed to protect.
In the quiet, unglamorous mantra of one foot in front of the other, digging in and looking hard at my own shadow…somehow I find my voice. Er, maybe it’s better to say that it finds me. Again and again it returns, reminding me that singing is enough. It’s part of my garden, it’s what I have to offer. It’s a drop. It’s an inch.
What does your garden look like? We need you to tend and cultivate it now more than ever. I’d love to hear your answers if you’re willing to share.