Barbara: I am not proud of the following story. We can’t be proud of everything we do (or don’t do, as this case may be), right? But herein lies my truth, which I will share with you, and for which I promise to try and spin a happy ending.
Yesterday I was describing my dear friend Charlotte’s turmoil to my husband—she is embroiled in a bit of a messy mess right now, she is in fact embroiled in more than a few messy messes right now, and NOT because of her doing, but because of her caring. Darling Charlotte is committed to righting the wrongs of this world. She is the best, most dedicated activist I know. She is that person who doesn’t look away from the most terrible injustices in our world. She fights to stop the wrong, or to change it. She rallies, she marches, she emails, she calls, she petitions, she endorses, she gets frustrated, she gets discouraged, she gets sad, she rails, and then she picks herself up and begins again. She also supports and comforts and loves. Deeply.
And because she faces injustice head-on, injustice always seems to land on her doorway clutching a gunnysack over its shoulder and asking if it can crash on her couch.
Phil shook his head in support of Charlotte’s challenges and then asked if I was ever tempted to fight the good fight with her. I had to answer the truth, which is this: as much as I hate injustices in this world, as much as they make me angry and frustrated, as much as I want the world to change and develop its consciousness and compassion, as much as I see the HUGE necessity for this, I am more comfortable dealing one-on-one, being the quiet supporter, the shoulder, the injustice-whisperer and not its warrior. Partly because I am scared of being ill-informed and taking the wrong stance (not Charlotte’s problem, btw; she is an encyclopedia of pertinent information), partly because it takes too much time (I’m sorry, I said I wasn’t proud of this!), partly because I am not a warrior by nature. I’m just more comfortable dealing with fallout than dealing with weaponry.
Without missing a beat, I told my husband, “I’m not an activist, I’m a sitbacktivist.” It’s not the same, I know, but it feels like I’m still doing something. It’s why I love the blog so much. Here I get to sit back and share the experiences of the world with all of you without doing any homework or picking up any tools or getting any blood on me. I am here for you … but I’m here for you, not, like, over at your house with signs and petitions and stuff.
I always used to think that one day I might be a real activist, maybe join a noble cause and get my hands all dirty. It was an ideal. But, aside from confronting bad teachers for my kids and donating money and that kind of thing, I will have to face the fact that I did not grow up to be that woman.
The happy ending? Well, Charlotte does make the world a better place. She has done so all her life and she will continue to do so, one signature, letter and law at a time. Thanks god for people like her! Me? I know I’ve done a share of good in my own small way. I know that I will always try and spread some love, that I do give a damn, and that even the minor efforts of a caring sitbacktivist can change the world a little bit at a time.
Deb: This is a tough subject to judge. To me it’s like the Oscars. Can’t judge art. Nor do I think we can judge the good deeds and charity work we do, whether it is close or far from home, or close or far from your heart. We all have gifts and if we are lucky enough to know what they are, hopefully we are benevolent enough to share them.