Courage in the ordinary everyday is the theme for this blog. In the middle of so much unrest in the world, it seems almost naive to think courage comes from the little things in everyday life. When I look at the events in African nations, the Middle East, and even across my own country, it seems I should stand for bigger and better things than just being a mom and a wife in a Midwestern town. There are more important places, more important causes, and more important people with more important voices out there…so why should anyone listen to me?
These feelings insignificance can be paralyzing. I sit and wonder if there is anything I can really do to make a difference when the world is full of bigger problems then I am equipped to solve in my little corner of the world. Then I remember the thing I have learned about courage in the ordinary. I know is it truly little acts that have the potential to change the world.
One of my favorite pieces which came out from the Women’s March last weekend was Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook post about light and darkness. In it she says without Voldemort, Harry Potter is just an ordinary boy. Think about the truth in that statement. Think about how each of our stories change if we frame ourselves outside of what happens to us, where we were born, and who we know. We all become just ordinary people. It is what we choose to do with our circumstances that frame our story.
I spent Inauguration Day moving instead of watching. The simple act (ok, let’s be honest, it wasn’t simple to move, but I digress…) of spending the day around honest hard working people filled me with the hope. Maybe that is naïve. I know there is darkness in this world; but spending the day moving showed me there are plenty of good and kind people throughout this country as well. I have to believe those are the people who will prevail. Because when it comes down to it, Marches are important; but, it is equally important to reach out to your neighbor, smile at your grocery clerk, and recognize your janitor as a person. I believe the real problem in this country is not with red and blue but with disconnection.
For one of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle Melton, says:
Fear Cannot Survive Proximity. When we draw near, we listen hard and look hard at each other, we fall in love.
(August 22, 2016, Momastery.com)
We only fear what we don’t know. When we reach out to those around and get to know our neighbors, we have less to fear. We may not agree with them, but we are no longer afraid of who they are. For me, showing my kids how to have the courage to be kind everyday is what I truly believe will be the best thing I can do to change things for decades to come.
For me, it takes more courage to reach out to a stranger than it does to stand in a crowd and March. It is why it is safe to troll the Internet, but our actual world is so disconnected. So, if we want to continue the work of last weekend, if we want to really make America great again, let’s march into our neighborhoods, schools and communities at large and start connecting with those around us. Start with a smile and a hello. It is what we do in the Midwest and it can change the world.
In the spirit of courage in the ordinary, I am going to commit to 2017 as the year where of ordinary acts of courage. I want to do little things each and every day, which bring about connection in my community and highlight people who are doing just that. Follow along on Instagram for #100daysofcourage
Together we can make a difference with ordinary acts of courage and connection.