Anyone feeling exhausted already even though we’re not even a month into the new U.S. administration? So many marches, vigils, protests, declarations, petitions! So many organizing meetings! And so many posts to read, reports to watch, updates to listen to. Hyper alert and hyper drive are exhausting.
As I left the gym on January 20, I referenced my dread of the day to my fitness trainer, a working class African American queer-identified woman. She replied, “Meck. There are only two kinds of days: good days and great days. Today will be a good day.”
That was helpful.
So was this parable my beloved spouse passed on to me by Peter Seeger about a seesaw:
…One end of the seesaw is on the ground because it has a big basket half full of rocks in it. The other end of the seesaw is up in the air because it’s got a basket one-quarter full of sand. Some of us have teaspoons, and we are trying to fill it up.
Most people are scoffing at us. They say, ‘People like you have been trying for thousands of years, but it is leaking out of that basket as fast as you are putting it in.’ Our answer is that we are getting more people with teaspoons every day. And we believe that one of these days or years — who knows — that basket of sand is going to be so full that you are going to see that whole seesaw going zoop! in the other direction.
Then people are going to say, ‘How did it happen so suddenly?’
And we answer, ‘Us and our little teaspoons over thousands of years.’
The long view helps. So does the reminder that I am not responsible for more than my part. It’s not that I was trying to do everything these past weeks. It’s that I felt bad because I was not doing more even though I was at capacity.
I’m remembering what Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon taught us in her Liberation Ethics classes at Episcopal Divinity School during the Reagan-Bush years. In the words of her mother: “Ain’t but me one.” There’s only one of each of us, but we are not alone. We are lawyers and healers and teachers and sign-painters and artists. We are trades people and cooks and comics and listeners and speechifiers.
We are everywhere and we are legion. And we have teaspoons. A LOT of teaspoons. More every day.
Some of us are stronger and quicker than others. Some of us have more stamina. But each of us has limited capacity and it’s no one person’s job to fill the basket.
You don’t have to save the world. Just do your part to tip the seesaw. Be faithful. Sing if you can. Cheer each other on. Rest your heart in prayer. Do what YOU are called to do. That. Is. All.
image: Wooden Spoons by Robin Wood