I started thinking a lot about leadership and how too many are in the news for shirking their responsibilities or making outright lies. It is easy to believe that “that’s just the way it is,” but I would have to disagree. There are way, way more of us doing the work that needs to be done each day. Though we don’t make the headlines much, our love and commitment make the world go round. I remember today a dear community leader who passed yesterday–she lost her battle to cancer, but the effect of her love remains on all the lives she touched. She was someone who would look at you with her eyes and say more than words could convey. She was there to serve and offer her life to wherever she could be of use. My son called her his second grandma because even in her later years, she was active in his boy scout troop, and I admired not only the care she gave to these young scouts but also her willingness to remind them who they were and not to let mischief get in the way. I also think of the visionaries who look forward to creating a more beautiful world for all. They usually are quietly pressing along, but they leave signs of inspiration and wonder if we are open to recognizing it.
To those who are struggling in this time, there are so many of us who care. Just raise a hand and call for help—we are here for you. 💗
I want to share this beautiful poem by Marge Piercy that calls us all to embrace the heart of service by doing the work that is front of us.
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
Marge Piercy, “To be of use” from Circles on the Water. Copyright © 1982 by Marge Piercy.
Photo credit: Edwin Williams Photography LLC