This week, dealing with the reverberations of two more black men killed at the hands of police, and then five Dallas police officers murdered by a sniper, like so many I was overcome with a wave of sadness so great I couldn’t stop the tears. I wanted to turn it all off, but I couldn’t. It was as if turning it off was disrespectful to the lives of these seven men who died.
But I have work to do… like all of us. I cannot afford to take a week off every time America’s violent culture stomps on my heart. I have serious-has-to-be-done-no-matter-what work to do. So I need to do it. There is no option.
How Do I Turn off the Emotions?
The honest answer to that question is, I don’t. I can’t. Most of us can’t on a week like this. Some of us are more sensitive to life than others. Some of us laugh, cry, anger, and become melancholic and feel things more poignantly. That isn’t a negative, it is how we are built. But like all personality traits, we need to somehow manage it.
This week I went looking anywhere I could to find a way to stifle the sadness.
Building a Reservoir of Good Will
The only way to keep going when horrible things are done to innocent people is to have built up a reservoir of good people, good actions, good memories to help you plow through. And, as I’ve heard said by Anthony Iannarino so many times, you actually have to do good yourself as well.
I thought of my Facebook friend Ricky Smith, founder of #RAKE who was devastated by the news this week yet still bought tickets to Dallas so he could continue his mission of “spreading kindness around the world.
I thought of my childhood friend Melvin Roach who is enrolling for his EdD at St. Joseph’s University as he lays the groundwork for a nonprofit called Bending Back Barriers to help educate immigrant, underserved children.
And I wondered, how many people do I know who are out there quietly doing good? I needed to hear about them this week, so I put up a Facebook post asking my friends:
Tell me about people you know personally doing something to benefit their fellow man. No matter how small.
Here is what I got:
Warner: My mom works with drug and alcohol abusers and convicts.
Todd: I have a community garden with plots available for free. We give all of the produce away…no questions asked. What cannot be donated is sold. All profits go to The Global Food Crisis Fund. It feels good to give it all away. I spend most weekends in the garden and sacrifice time with my family but it is worthwhile.
Stosh: I gave up my second job for a college student who is homeless and so he can try to make some money to live, also offered him a place to stay and dinner. He declined to stay because he is trying now with a friend, but was very thankful and appreciative for me giving up my position so he could have a job
Mike: This is what I do: www.GemmasAngels.org (He feeds the poor).
Orna: I donate 100 dozen eggs ( 25 dozen 4 times a year) to our local soup kitchen from my chickens.
Rich: Here’s a tool I recently used that some people might find helpful. Volunteer Match.
Sandra: Three of my friends gave up their careers, now relying on financial support from friends/family to work with the homeless in NYC and NJ.
Angela: Marcus Mitchell gives away half his income in random acts of kindness. Marty Gruber volunteers to speak to kids in Vegas about drug addiction. He has spoken to thousands over more than a decade. Caitlyn Boyle started Operation Beautiful encouraging people to leave post-it notes of positivity for others. Wrote a book on this have a few! 🙂
Kaarina: I assist with an organization here in Ontario. Volunteering rocks!
Lori: A friend of mine Betsy Halliwell Plante started the Blessing Bags for the homeless… Love her.
Christopher: The arts community here in Vallejo have transformed our city from a dangerous, depressed ghost town to an up and coming boom town, that as of this week is the #1 housing market in America.
Susan: Leddie and I volunteer on Thursdays to feed the homeless.
Eric: I volunteer with a boy scout troop. It’s not helping big people directly, but hopefully, I’m helping future big people!
Bridget: Our show ka, technicians and artists together pack meals for hot lunches and bag food for backpack school program a few times a year. We also do a lot of work with project 150, it gives clothes to low-income and homeless teens in our school system in vegas. I also do the school supply drive for the teachers in Clark County, because teachers don’t get paid enough and they do so much
Rob: Pretty much the main reason I became a nurse. The Milt gave so much to us, I wanted to be able to give back myself.
Erin: #afghanistan … 5-years …
Shelly: I sponsor three little girls in Guatemala, helping ensure they get an education so that they can realize their dreams. Getting their letters and hearing their accomplishments brings me great joy. I do more, but that’s the thing I’m most proud of.
Paula: Linda is mobilizing a team to help a village in Cambodia get an education, attain self-sufficiency, and adopt the very simple yet profoundly life-saving habit of washing their hands. On this side of the world, she’s working to help children of incarcerated.
Donna: I write free career advice. It helps over 30,000 people per month.
Albert: I am building Albert’s List, a jobs community that connects people looking for work.
Samantha: Today, I watched a person who didn’t get BLM finally understand. Today, a child in the mall wearing a hijab was eating sushi and an older white woman smiled at her. Today, my boss advocated for our female dominated marketing & tech firm through the mic…See More
Rae: A lady posted on NEXTDOOR app that her neighbor Ray’s little dog was attacked by a woman with husky n black dog who took off. the vet bill was $600 and they already have plumbing issues at this time. within a few days, neighbors paid the vet bill and got them plumbing help and $ toward that!!!!
Rae: A woman in our hood posted on NEXTDOOR that her daughters 2 strollers were stolen from her home in NE portland – did anyone have a double stroller to donate? she had like 6 offers!!!!!!!!
Jack: Milton Hershey School (This is where I grew up – a boarding school for disadvantaged children. Jack was my principal and mentor. The school has graduated 10,000 children and transformed thousands upon thousands of lives.)
Lee: My wife and I volunteered with 3 other co-workers, at a homeless shelter just last night. I only handed out soup and washed dishes, the ladies all cooked. The men were very grateful for a nicely cooked meal.
Kimberly: I reach out to young women who are victims of human trafficking ( because I am one ) and try to give them hope that they can find love and happiness despite what they have been through… I tell them they are beautiful, kind, smart, worthy and important and that they deserve NOTHING BUT THE BEST even though some of them will never believe that to be true. #loveoneanother
These are all people I know personally, yet I had no idea that most of them were doing these things. I’m sure my circle is not different than yours. If you’re looking for hope to build a reservoir of good will, ask the question.
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