My blog is not a political platform. The focus here is on the smaller things that make up daily life. I intend to keep it that way. But those big things affect the little things, you know, and pretending big things aren’t happening doesn’t serve anyone well.
Don’t worry! I’m not going to dive into election aftermath or the actual state of US political affairs. If you want to discuss specifics of that with me in person or via email, I’m happy to do so. I have plenty to say. But not here.
Instead, I want to share a few more photos from our Washington DC trip and a tweet that I can’t get out of my head. I don’t know who runs this Twitter account, or if it really is a bot spewing canned happy thoughts. Doesn’t matter. These words are shaping how I’m processing and moving forward after last Tuesday:
In hard times, some people become warriors, some become diplomats, and some become healers. They’re all needed.
— Yayfrens Bot (@yayfrens) November 17, 2016
Warriors. Diplomats. Healers. They are all necessary roles. But it’s not necessary for each of us to fill every role.
I’m not a warrior. Much as I want to fight for the things that are important to me, I don’t hold up well in battle. I get flustered and either cry, lash out wildly, or completely shut down. It’s not my strength. But I know people who are warriors. I admire and support them. Their work is important.
I’m not sure I’m a healer either. Open wounds frighten me. I can hold someone’s hand and say “there, there,” but I’d rather someone else do the cleaning and bandaging while I discreetly look the other way. (And I mean this both literally and figuratively.) But I know people who are healers. I admire and support them. Their work is important.
Diplomacy, though? That I can do. I’m a good listener. I put a lot of effort into seeing things from multiple perspectives, giving people the benefit of the doubt, strengthening relationships, bridging divides, advocating for open communication, holding people accountable to their commitments. I’m not always successful on all counts, but I sure try.
Part of diplomacy is education. Learning from those who know more. Teaching those who don’t know yet. And at my core, I’m an educator. Teaching is what I do. It’s why I write. I can’t help it. This is how I try to make a difference. Persuade minds. Touch hearts. Encourage and uplift and hopefully inspire.
That’s the goal, anyway. It seems I’ve lost sight of it lately. As I’ve pondered my priorities these last couple weeks, I’ve been disappointed in myself. Too often I find myself reacting to circumstances instead of proactively changing them. Several times this week I’ve caught myself consciously ignoring impulses to act in favor of passively scrolling through my social media feed.
It doesn’t sit well in my soul.
Later I’ll talk more about priorities. Today, I want you to know I’m getting back on my feet and moving forward. Undoubtedly I will stumble and lose sight of my goals again. However, I will not sit still.
Since I am neither warrior nor healer, I’m going to exercise my diplomacy skills. I have several different spheres of influence; I’ll be using them to educate and mediate when appropriate. Much as I try to avoid conflict, I know I’ll have to step up and have some uncomfortable conversations. I’m going to make greater efforts to listen and learn so I can be a better advocate for those who need one.
I encourage you to think about your role in the world. Are you a warrior, fighting for what you believe in? Are you a healer, easing the suffering of those around you? Or are you, like me, a diplomat, fostering cooperation and compassion in the midst of discord?
Whatever you are, we need you.
Figure out what you can do to make our world better.
Let’s get to work.