We’re three days away from the second largest Hearth Event of the year: cue my annual existential crisis. Last week, amidst slower than hoped ticket sales, expensive car maintenance, a family visit, and (as an atheist) my first adult attendance to Easter services, it was to be expected.
Thursday night, as I drew into the final leg of the week, I checked my phone for one last time before going to bed and accidentally fell down the rabbit hole of tragic news stories. Opinion pieces about the United Airline incident, tensions with Russia over Syria, the bomb on Afghanistan, each article felt like a physical blow. My brain, which had already been playing the “Does any of my work matter? Why am I putting so much effort into silly little art events that not that many people want to come to?” tape suddenly upped its ante.
When confronted with fraught national and international current events, my normal doubt tape leveled up like some psychological Pokemon and started asking “Why aren’t I doing anything to help? Why didn’t I take my early college smarts and go into law or medicine like everyone told me to? Have I wasted all my energy on self-indulgent projects?”
I let the tears come and tried to feel the fear instead of brushing it off like my New England culture has taught me to. Through much graceless trial and error, I’ve learned that once I’ve let my fears actually be heard, they often subside. Then I can remind myself what I know, with that deepest kind of knowing we so often ignore: that what I do matters.
In an era where we value money and power above all else (especially people); an era of endless globalization, digitization and industrialization that has challenged and eroded the very fabric of our communities and safety nets; an era of increasing violent nationalism built from fear and greed that is closing minds and hearts on all ends of the political spectrum, what I do matters.
I don’t know how to legally defend immigrants, create policies that protect people instead of money, draft peace talks between warring nations, investigate false claims from our leaders, or provide medical care locally or abroad. But I do know how to create spaces that bring people together for authentic interactions, exploring creativity, and practicing compassion. And that matters.
This is what I’ve been trained for, what I’m good at, and how I can contribute. These events, each little one, are the underpinnings of a community that creates more than it destroys, a community that cares. This is how I know to bring beauty and peace to the world.
This is what I make and it matters.
Come to WhatIMake: 2017 this Saturday, April 22, 2017 to experience the Hearth Community at its finest.