My little sister had emergency gallbladder surgery last week. She is a tough nut,, but our family has wimpy gallbladders. Her boss, one of the best surgeons in the world, was by her side. So were our mom and dad. I wanted to be there, too. She went back to work on Monday, even though she's still healing from a more-major-than-expected surgery. Her work is demanding and fast-paced with tons of new responsibilities she's just started wrapping her head around. She performs with grace, and goes home to soccer practice and piano lessons and science projects and busy teenagers and a houseful of pets. Her husband is supportive and wonderful, but there's never time for cleaning or feeling caught up. I want to go and cook and clean and do laundry and errands and make her home a comfortable haven while she finishes healing.
I started repairing my kids' bathroom a year ago. We got the plumbing leaks fixed and replaced the tub enclosure and put in new flooring. But it still needs to be painted. I can't do it until my shoulder finishes healing, and by then I'll be swamped with farmers' markets and food transporting and volunteer coordinating.
There are so many people and things to care about! I've taken a stand to fight food waste and eliminate hunger, and I have to direct my energy and resources to that cause. Every day something pulls me from it, and every day I have to refocus and remind myself that what I've chosen matters, even when it feels like I'm not getting anywhere. Even when I don't have funds to order literature. Even when the only food donations today are sweets and I'm struggling to access the fresh food so many people need before it goes into some dumpster somewhere. Even when wrapping the brownies we sell to raise the funds we need so desperately is still too hard on my healing arm.
I know everybody feels ineffective sometimes. I know these are small bumps on a long road. It's still a struggle. It's important to remind ourselves of the passion we felt when we took on our causes. I have to see people living without basic comforts like shelter and hot food. I have to walk downtown and recognize the newly-homeless victims of the recession who don't know how to find help yet. I have to make myself keep caring, keep fighting, keep working for a better world.
My aunt's family and my sister and my house and all my other loves will have to carry on without my help, as hard as it is to let them go, so that I can make a small difference for a stranger or two. I can only continue because I know they want me to, because they're strong enough without my help right now, because they are so selfless and loving and can also envision a world without hunger, without waste, without apathy. Armed with their support, I choose to carry on.