I feel helpless at times – watching the news, reading the headlines. It’s all TOO much. This year in particular, right? One horrific tragedy after the other. And it’s not because there’s more death these days than in the distant past… it’s just because we have more access to the information. Every car bombing, every raid, every accidental death, every massacre – displayed right on Facebook for our consumption. It can turn my soul grey and weigh heavy on my body.
You want to look away but there’s literally nowhere else to look. Pain surrounds us. This isn’t a fairytale. Life is love and it is loss. The Orlando tragedy is the latest headline to make me weep. Oh wait, strike that. The woman who lost her baby to an alligator. That came after, right? I’m praying for them all. It’s the only thing I know how to do.
But that feeling of helplessness doesn’t have to be the only emotion we feel. We can actually stand up and react in a way that makes a difference.
Why am I writing this? Because I saw this image on Reddit (image source) this morning. Dashrath lost his wife because he lived too far away from a hospital to provide her with the care she needed. A mountain blocked a path between their town and the closest hospital. There wasn’t a direct road to take. What did Dashrath do ? He spent the next 22 years digging out the mountain ALONE and creating a new space for everyone in his village to use moving forward. Now, instead of having to walk 70km, they have to walk 1km. Life Safer. LITERALLY.
Did he sit and cry and mourn the loss of his wife until the end of his days? No. Instead, he mourned the loss of his wife and did something positive for his community. One person with a mother f****ing bucket. Are you kidding me? If Dashrath can break a road through a mountain, then we can make a change too. No matter how small. No matter how long it takes. You can do something and so can I.
And don’t get me started on the Humans of NY guy. From a simple concept – taking pictures of NYers and telling their stories online – to becoming a force to be reckoned with. Brandon Stanton has built a community that continuously comes together to support whatever his lens points towards. What a beautiful thing! Pediatric Cancer, Syrian Refugees, NYC schools — just to name a few.
This leads me to think. What can I do? Here. In my house. On my couch. We all have a voice and we all certainly have drive. It’s really about what we do with those two things.
This summer, I am scheduled to visit the Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp and St. Jude’s Hospital. As a mother, my passion pushes me towards children. I’m not sure where this will all lead me, but I know that I am going to spend the rest of my life doing something. I think that’s what they mean when they say 40 brings clarity.
My 20s were about me.
My 30s were about my children.
My 40s are going to be about things beyond our four walls.
Why did I write this post? Just to get you to start thinking. We all don’t have a lot of time. I get this. I know you don’t have 22 years to dig a road through a mountain. But can you run a 5k with a friend and raise some money for a charity? Or can you hold a garage sale and give all the proceeds to the charity of your choice? Can you hold a food drive at your house and bring everything you collect to your local shelter? Think small. Think local. Think HYPER LOCAL. That always helps.
Do you know someone who can use a little extra help in town? Give it to them. It doesn’t have to be GRAND. I think that’s what stops people in their tracks. We all can’t be Brandon Stanton and God didn’t intend us to be that way. He is Brandon. I am Vera. That’s that. I will never be able to raise tens of millions of dollars for charity… but that’s not going to stop me from doing my part.
Let’s all do our part. And let’s start today.
Want To Donate?
Click here to donate whatever you can to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I just started the page this morning. My partner, Audrey, and I have been talking about lining up with a charity for ages and we finally took the steps to make that happen. It takes one moment to make a decision. It takes a lifetime of committment to make a difference. Let’s do it together.