This time of year used to look like parents leaping through the aisles of Walmart, throwing crayons, number 2 pencils, notebooks, lunchboxes, backpacks, and you-name-its into a cart like freaking confetti. We overspent, because...well, let's just face it, Mom & Dad... WE WERE FREAKING THRILLED to begin shifting our precious babies back to the land of hope and wonder. BACK. TO. SCHOOL.
Some of us are able to do that this year. Many are not. We are now having to completely recreate our lives by figuring out how to virtually home school and work, or take care of the home, or raise babies and toddlers, or... let's be real... EXIST. Every parent is dealing with similar issues. Not every parent is responding the same way. That is normal and okay, yet today, I want to challenge you to show up in a way that may be difficult, but that will profoundly impact your Community. I want to challenge you to show up with grace, mercy, love, generosity, and support.
Throughout the last 5 months, I haven't had one clue how to react about virtual learning, or "distanced learning". I've been busy fighting to figure out how to master my own thoughts, anxieties, and emotions while also trying to show up as a Mom & a wife, hold my business together, and be a Leader for my team. among many other roles in my life. I feel like I've been beat the hell up, yet built the hell up super fast. You see, failure is the foundation of success. The more we fail, the better we get. This applies to our new virtual experience too.
Each failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. The faster we fail and get up and fail again, the faster and closer we move toward excellence. I have failed so hard and so fast since Covid hit, yet it has produced some invaluable lessons for me, one of the most important being this:
My anxiety from Covid comes from uncertainty, which makes me feel as though I have no control. But that is a lie. It's always a lie.
I do have control. I have control over myself and my own thoughts & reactions. Virtual school will not kill me. It will be hard. It IS hard. I am in the middle of the first day of school and it is SO rough. But I've seen kids walking to school in bare feet over monsoon waters across a tree, so I think I'll make it. We're in the middle of a WORLD CRISIS, it is survival time, and I have to realize that the precious comforts that I had the opportunity to enjoy before are gone for now, so I can choose to sulk in my frustration, or change perspective, accept it, and move forward. Here's what I know:
The more quickly I make the choice to accept reality, move forward & to support my Community with grace and empathy, despite whatever is in front of me, the stronger I & my Community will come out on the other side.
I have learned this lesson over and over again throughout my life, but today, I thought I'd share one of my favorite lessons on this. When I was nineteen, I travelled to a remote village in Bangladesh. It was six hours outside of the capital, Dhaka where we were staying. SIX HOURS. In a third world Country. In order to get to this village, we had to take the following modes of transport: SUV, rickshaw, ferry, walk, SUV, canoe-type boat, hike, hitch a donkey... okay just kidding on that last one, although that would've made it so much more epic. I am going to post a few photos of that particular adventure. Scroll down & you'll find a gallery.
The busses (Pictured) looked like something out of a NJ Transit Zombie Nightmare. Clearly, these busses get into an accident every 3.7 seconds.
All of the travel was worth it when we arrived. What I found was pure magic. This Community was not nearly what I had ever experienced, growing up at The Jersey Shore! The homes were simple construction of wood or metal sheeting or more often, simply just... cow dung. Yep, I said that. Cow poop. People live in homes made of cow poop. That's a thing. In 2020. Not in Jesus times. Now. That was enough to culture shock the heck out of me as a nineteen year old girl, yet it was just one piece of the magnificent jigsaw puzzle I found while there. The Community we were visiting lived together, worked together, played together, worshipped together, and even ate together. They did life together. It was beautiful. Everyone in this Community pulled their money together to buy a cow to cook, just because we were visiting. They all gave in their week's pay, someone bought the cow, and spent all day cooking for the (for all intents and purposes) rich white people. They didn't even have electric. It was humbling to the absolute core.
Oh by the way, did i mention their church was completely destroyed in the monsoon, months before?
These people overflowed with love, grace, mercy, and generosity, while their church (which was the most important thing to them) had been washed away. It was now being rebuilt on an island, with no access, except by boat. Imagine getting construction materials on a canoe and rowing it to a small island over vast flood waters. WHOA. Talk about showing up for your Community.
I'm not talking about a Community with taxes and money to do this. I am talking about people with absolutely nothing, who had to rebuild with what little resources they could pull together. Yet, this Community was so full of joy and generosity, even when times were unbelievably tough. They didn't let the monsoon define or defeat them. They didn't start blaming each other and allow division to come into the Community. They knew it wasn't the Community's fault. It was a situation that happened and one that no one was equipped to handle, yet they did handle it, and they handled it together. They simply united and persevered. I'm sure they failed along the way, but they found a way not just to rebuild, but to build stronger. In the photo, you'll see three women and a small child standing on brick. This is in the church that they were rebuilding. The walls are concrete and the floor is brick. They were not just rebuilding... they were rebuilding STRONGER, so that if a monsoon were to come again, their place of worship would withstand. Wow, what a lesson.
You see, it wouldn't have made sense if they had allowed division to come into the Community. They needed unity, grace, and support in order to stand back up and come out stronger. They all needed each other. Each member of the Community had a different job. Some would cook. Some would take care of the kids. Some would farm, or fish, or travel to market, or sell goods, or build structures, or whatever. They all served however they could. Everyone was needed but more-so, everyone was appreciated, because of how they showed up when times were tough. Two days in that village and I was changed forever and totally inspired. Here's what I learned:
The Grace, love, & support or lack thereof that you show your Community during tough times will define you and will impact your Community for generations to come. Stick with the Community builders, not the Community destroyers.
What would have happened if they would've divided instead of united? What if a portion of the Community decided they didn't want to rebuild the church or they didn't want to do extra work or whatever needed to be done, because of the Monsoon?
The church might not be around for them OR for the generations to come and who knows what would've happened to the Community! Life is hard everywhere, but you're in control of your response in tough times. Your Community needs you to show up with grace, mercy, and support right now. We don't need you choose a side. We need you to choose empathy. I am challenging you this week. These are your people, like it or not. Give grace. Give mercy. Give love. Be empathetic. Try to understand someone besides yourself. Be generous. Be supportive. Have an opinion and choose unity anyway. You got this. Until next time Rockstar Community, I am sending you peace, love, and good vibes from my quarantine home to your's!