Hope lies in a shovel (Story)
Nearly a year ago, I was sitting on the second-story porch of my then home in Charlottesville, Virginia, talking to my brother about a variety of topics - science, physiology, community development, religion, theology, brain chemistry, art, music, etc...
We got into a discussion later on after the 4+ hour (on and off) conversation, now getting into our we are feeling and thinking about the current state of affairs in the world. My brother expressed how jaded he felt recently, seeing friends divorced, corrupt systems at play, the constant struggle of an artist, even more simply as a human trying to find success in the world, and how he dealt with the ordeal of feeling obligated to "play the game" our society seems to require (a masquerade of sorts, it seems).
And then I asked him, in this midst of this negativity, "Well, where does hope lie then?"
He then said, "It's in your shovel."
Later the next year, I had embarked on a 2-month long hiatus, going nearly off the grid in the woods of Sophia, North Carolina (as they call them there: "The Woods of Wisdom") to pursue solitude and seek a more holistic lifestyle spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally...
The woman who led this retreat, Melissa Helser, spoke one more on salvation and sustainability. This same idea was spoken.
"Salvation is in your shovel." - Melissa Helser
I am convinced that this may be the greatest solution to the plight of our current affairs in the western world, and abroad beyond the (often vile and crude) west. We have to put our hands to a shovel and build beauty.
While writing this, I am reminiscing on some other conversations I had with another friend and colleague, J. Eric Mathis. He studied sociology and phycology in England and has his PHD, and wrote his thesis on the idea of reactive vs. proactive protesting, arguing the hope for change is not in the reactionary protest and picketing on the streets of Washington or our government halls, but the proactive work of a citizen in their community - building a community garden, building social good businesses, create open-source markets, and working to build cultures of health in our cities and towns, etc...
This idea of reaction vs. proaction I believe is vital to our future's health and sustainability.
Yes, it is valuable and good to go out and join protests to let your voice be heard, but don't let it stop there. Don't just wait for the next protest, and don't just post on social media - get out in your community, stand outside your front door and wave to your neighbors, get involved in local initiatives, and stand in solidarity by opening a door for an elderly woman of color, cutting down on waste through recycling, buying groceries with reusable jars and bags, and strike up positive and life-giving conversations with your friends and colleagues. Love your wife, and be a good parent to your children...
This is where hope lies - in your shovel.