This comes from from writer Rebecca Solnit, in her June 9th posting on Facebook. Enjoy!
As for that private pain.....
I read a beautiful piece recently that argued that teachers should be good to the students who reach out for help and expect it but also look beyond them to those who don't ask, because they're not used to being helped, or valued, or heard, and it's those who don't even ask that we really need to show up for. What I'm hearing from all the discussions about suicide and despair and depression (the latter two of which I am well acquainted with) is that asking people who feel destroyed to reach out is often asking more than is possible, and that we all need to reach out to the people who are falling through the cracks, not showing up, fading away, burning out. That depression is a sometimes fatal disease for which kindness and attentiveness and inclusion are if not a cure at least important treatments.
Resistance can also be kindness, because kindness isn't acquiescence, or weakness, or or niceness. It can be fierce, and preventing others from doing harm even by taking their power away can be a good thing, for them as well as for the people or places or things who don't become their victims (and that's what #metoo has done in a thousand cases). There is so much pain, and sometimes seeing the pain of others is overwhelming, but sometimes also it's a reminder that you are not alone: part of depression is both that loneliness and that inability to see beyond, because a depression is literally a hollow in the ground, a place you fall into from which there is not much view. It's a small space, for which, at least for me, one of the cures is spaciousness, the long view, an open field, a big landscape, a far horizon.
Remember that the current regime would like you to feel defeated, and helpless, and overwhelmed, and like they've won. Also remember that they are in chaos and incompetent, and that the governers govern by the will of the people and that will can unseat them. Remember that the people of Chile and the Philippines and a lot of other countries survived dictatorships and kleptocracies, civil wars; that there is an end to these regimes and their devastation; there is a next act to the play. Don't give up; don't give them anything. Don't surrender because this is so painful and ugly and miserable, don't surrender because it's exhausting, don't surrender because you don't see the way forward. Don't surrender out of of the spirit of resistance, don't surrender because defiance and intransigence are your friends, don't surrender because no one knows what will happen next.
What happens next may be what we make happen.
Among the few things we know for sure is that this chaos and corruption is unsustainable, and the Republican Party is a minority party that can be ground out, and the Democratic Party can be pushed, and the future will not look like the present, and people have the power. Remember your heroes. Remember your powers. Keep an eye on the vulnerable and the sad, and keep an eye on the horizon beyond which lies what no one can foresee, and remember that lack of public participation got us into this moment and an abundance of it can get us out.
A friend pointed out that the word encourage means to instill courage; discourage means the opposite; do your best to encourage, not with false cheer but with fierce commitment, and the subtle work we do with how we treat each other matters, as does the obvious work to transform the systems around us.
I said the week of the 2016 election that I took personal responsibility for hope thirteen years ago then--fifteen now--and I'm not quitting now. Come with me; it is going to be an interesting journey on the roads we make by walking. In the world we make by acting on our hopes and dreams and the power of ferocious kindness. Thank you for letting me preach a little. I hope everyone finds the things they love, their good work, the good people to work with, and a spacious place to stand and look forward.
Your humble servant,