A letter sent to our local newspaper in Twisp, WA.
I’m gonna get personal here.
We all wear so many hats. Speaking for myself, I am an artist, business owner, mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend, neighbor, teacher, homeowner, nature lover. At any given moment, I wear not just one of these hats in particular, but all of them at once.
You probably have your own closet full of hats that you style and stack as needed.
And I don’t know how you’re feeling, but I’m worried. I am worried about our communities, I’m worried about our country, and not to sound overly dramatic, but I’m worried about the human species. I’m worried because rather than pulling together to weather and learn from a global pandemic, which set the tone for a cultural reckoning, which is taking place in a political climate marked by tension, animosity and competition…it instead feels like we are coming apart at the seams.
People are walking around right now feeling threatened, scared, tense, and unsettled. Some are undeniably experiencing more of this than others but I would be surprised to find anyone who feels like things are just peachy right now. This is a stressful, anxious time.
In times of stress we are all at greater risk of exhibiting bad behavior. I’m generally a pretty nice person (ask my friends!) but when I’m stressed and anxious I get snappy, grumpy, overly critical, overly sensitive, and pretty reactive (ask my family!) This is happening a lot in our world right now, and we all need to turn our little inner dials from hot to cool.
I don’t care if your version of church is found out in nature, or in a hard day’s work, or exercise, or family, or well… in church. I don’t care if you are rich and retired, or have to work your butt off every day just to put food on the table. I don’t care if you’re in the majority, the minority, the mainstream, paddling upstream, or already up the creek without a paddle. We all share a fundamental need to feel accepted. We all need to feel a sense of belonging. We all need to know we’re OK.
And here’s why that matters. We won’t change anyone’s mind, we can’t change anyone’s behavior, and we won’t make it through this unless we can help one another feel accepted, safe, and valued.
As neighbors, friends, community members, or just strangers living elbow-to-elbow, we need to hold ourselves and one another accountable. But accountability is not the same thing as shaming. It’s been said that we all do better when we know better, but I also think we do better when we feel better.
So from my little corner of this crazy world to yours I ask of you: Please be kind. Please use your manners. Get some rest. Step outside. Take a breath.
Please treat others the way you would like to be treated. We’re all in this together.