As people who want to change the world, we try to turn night into day all the time. But we get stuck! We try to rip open the night and shine light into the darkness to make daytime instead of showing people how to take the basket off their own candle. We believed Dr. King when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” Somehow though, after the lights don’t come on and people aren’t jumping up and down about how we brought the light, we get frustrated and grumpy. We seem to forget the other part of what Martin was saying: “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Practice 8: Encourage Living Fully and Wholly, First.
The best-meaning world-savers oftentimes become myopic, seeing the whole of the planet’s problems from only their issue’s perspective. Environmentalists believe that if we’d tend to the earth’s needs everything would get better. Educators think we need a more successful pedagogy or better funding. Politicians, philanthropists, healthcare workers, artists, and many others believe the same. So we go about creating community engagement and civic engagement and student engagement and volunteer engagement and all kinds of engagement programs and initiatives. However, somewhere along the way we forget about the actual people we are trying to serve.
- Accept that in order to actually serve others, we must, must, must serve ourselves first.
- Treat ourselves as we’d have others treat us.
- Make an honest and thorough examination of who you are, how you are right now.
- Acknowledge the rights and wrongs you’ve done to yourself.
- Show yourself grace and love, regardless of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and who you were, because you know that everything you’ve done has led you to this precise point.
- Know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.