More Joy in the World

My hope is that you will harness your education, your creativity and your valor, your voice, your vote — reflecting on all that you’ve witnessed and hungered for, all that you know to be true — and use it to create more equity, more justice and more joy in the world. Oprah Winfrey

We are halfway through 2020, a good time to reflect on how the year is going. I doubt that anyone would say the year is turning out as they expected. It has been nothing like what I expected.

african-american-woman-in-face-mask-on-city-street-4177882

Photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels

Back in January, I had chosen the word “Tranquility” as my guiding word for 2020. So far, I don’t feel even close to tranquil. Recently, I reached out to my life coach, Rachell, because I’ve been struggling with anxiety and felt stuck. I wanted to write a blog post about the death of George Floyd but couldn’t get started. Prayer hadn’t help me to move forward, except to nudge me to call Rachell, who I hadn’t had a session with since January.

The killing of George Floyd was a rude awakening for me. In discussing it with my coach, I saw that part of my reluctance to write about it was due to the many negative and inflammatory comments I see on social media. If I wrote something, would people react against me? I’ve seen people get defensive and angry when others tried to educate them on racial issues. People might unfollow my blog. And what if, in my ignorance, I said something incorrectly and caused offense without meaning to?

Rachell encouraged me to think about why I did want to write the post. I realized I’d feel worse if I kept silent. My purpose is to create a life-giving world, and writing is one of my talents. I need to speak out as part of my effort to be a Woman Making Strides—to be someone who uses her God-given talents to better the world, even if people disagree with me. When I thought about the blog post in those terms, it felt exciting, rather than a dreaded chore. I hope this post will spark some thoughts or conversation. Maybe we can all try to learn more about racism.

In the last few minutes of his life, George Floyd repeatedly said, “Please, please I can’t breathe.” This was a man, calling for his mama as his life was drained from him. The police officer kept his knee pressed against George’s neck for eight minutes—even after he became unresponsive. We would not tolerate an animal being treated like that. George Floyd was a person, a human being that God created. And this was not an isolated incident.

I am not saying all or even most police officers are racist and brutal. By far, they are not, and many risk their lives to keep us safe. But there are racist people in law enforcement as well as scattered throughout our population. I am old enough to remember the race protests and riots in the late 60s. That’s what was most eye-opening about this for me. I realized we have made little or no progress in eliminating racism since the 1960s. Too many of us have kept silent, not trying to understand our part in it. Unfortunately, this allows racism to continue.

I live in a primarily white world and don’t often think about what it’s like to be a minority, what it’s like to be born into poverty with few opportunities, what it’s like to face discrimination on a daily basis. That is part of my white privilege, and I am working to gain more knowledge about systemic racism and how I can help to combat it. I hope everyone makes an effort to do the same.

This recent unrest has occurred while we also face a global pandemic. That also has made 2020 different than I expected. I’ve been acting like my life is on hold, but I’m realizing I need to find a new normal for now. I can’t keep waiting for the pandemic to go away or for a vaccine to be available. I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. I am not going to pretend the pandemic doesn’t exist, go to parties, or refuse to wear a mask. Rather, I need to learn how to live and enjoy life while taking safety precautions for the sake of those around me and for myself.

Part of my “new normal” may include getting back to my ministry of being church librarian. The library is not open, so this might be a good time for me to go there and catch up. Nature is so soothing for me that I could enjoy it more often besides my daily walks and gardening. I can sit outside and read, pray, or check emails. I have also recently started spending a few minutes a day on my mystery novel. That is only a baby step, but baby steps are far better than nothing. I am trying to see writing as a pleasure and to be more lighthearted, rather than feeling pressured and anxious. That also seems like a good way to live life, even life in these troubled times.

photo of our outdoor concert from Ken

One of the things I miss the most during this pandemic is going to outdoor concerts. In the past, my husband Ken and I went to concerts twice a week all summer long. Some of those concerts are now being live streamed. So Ken and I take a laptop to the backyard, plug in an Ethernet cable, and add a speaker. We sit on lawn chairs and drink a glass of wine. I forget my worries, forget my do list, and enjoy the music. It almost feels like we are at the concert, and it helps me to be in the present.

What about you? How are you doing? We are dealing with a global pandemic, racial unrest, and divisive politics. If you’re not functioning at full capacity, that’s OK. But this time in history is still our life. Let’s make the best of it.

How can you create more joy in your life during these troubled times? How can you create more joy in the world for people who could use support?

About Susan Ekins

Freelance writer and blogger at Women Making Strides. Interested in personal leadership and empowerment. Wanting inspiration and to inspire. Leader in church ministries. Blog: http://www.WomenMakingStrides.com/ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WomenMakingStrides1
This entry was posted in Challenges, Inspiration, Integrity, Making a Difference, Proactive, Stress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to More Joy in the World

  1. Very good piece of writing ! My heart aches for Floyd and the loss which is happening due to covid. What we do to spark a positivity around the world ? It’s a very tough question. I would try my best to hold onto this time, keep the patience and shower love to our family and friends more than ever. I will surely come back to us. Because world is very small and life is a circle. Stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sarah says:

    Your description of George Floyd’s last minutes really choked me up and gave me goosebumps. I’m so glad that you didn’t shy away from writing your thoughts about it. It needs to be talked about. Besides, no matter what subject you write about, you’ll run the risk of losing followers or possibly unintentionally offending someone. If you speak your truth and from your heart then that’s all you can do. And you’re allowed to do that just like everyone else is!

    I think you’re right about learning to live with a new normal. It seems like everything in life is on hold waiting for the pandemic to be over but some predictions say that we can’t expect anywhere near what we had for well over a year or more! Here in Arizona, we’ve regressed and had to go back to closing half the state down. I am one who just loves being home and I have been fine so far with not being able to travel or do anything significant for entertainment. But I don’t like the idea that things AREN’T available or aren’t safely accessible right now even if I wanted them.

    Thanks for speaking up, Sue! I always love your blog posts!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susan Ekins says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments and encouragement, Sarah. Yeah, life would be easier if I didn’t worry about what people think. I’m glad you and David are doing well and hope you continue to stay safe there.

      Like

  3. nanciec13 says:

    Oh Susan, you are so right! Thanks for sharing these well thought out remarks. These are tough days but we must speak truth to power. The gift of the pandemic if I may, is that there is ample time to pray and reflect and listen. This is the foundation of making a just response. Again, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shirley Jones says:

    Sue I remember the Chicago riots too. It was a very scary time…as has been these last 3-1/2 years with Trump. What keeps me going is to know that November is coming…and relief is on the way. Please everyone VOTE!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a good one, Susan – thoughtful yet to the point. It may be time to revisit the sixties! We’ve made some progress since then, but not enough. And we’ve had a few presidents who have set us back. I won’t name names…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Rachel D. Lyne says:

    Keep writing and sharing what’s on your mind and heart – it will touch a lot of people! Take a breath ^_^ I can totally relate to the anxiety etc, so know that you’re never alone ❤️ It was awesome to read that you’re a church librarian. I am a church secretary and also in charge of the church library! Blessings to you! Keep writing ^_^!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Ekins says:

      Thank you for the encouragement, Rachel. I feel like we have a lot in common. I’m a volunteer, but have been treated like staff. During the pandemic, I’ve chosen not to go to staff meetings, but now I’m ready to get some work done.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so glad you resisted being silenced and got this post written and published.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Paula says:

    Another thought-provoking blog! Well done, Sue. You have stirred up a lot of memories that I have face throughout the years involving racism. I don’t consider myself a racist, but I grew up in a society that was – – and looking back, I’m surprised how prevalent and blatant it was. When I was in college I was not allowed to spend the weekend at my friend’s home because of the color of her skin. It pained me when I had to tell Loretta I couldn’t come, and she knew the reason why. Phil and I lived on the Eastern shore in the early 60s during some of the most horrific racial incidents. I wanted to support a “sit-in” in Princes Ann, Maryland,14 miles away, but Phil prevailed upon to stay home and keep my distance, because of the danger. I was horrified by the televised turn of events that occurred that day — it was brutal terrorism — fire hoses turned on peaceful demonstrators, knocking them off their feet, keeping them down, trapping some in telephone booths with no let-up to the water pressure knocking them about. That was also the era of “white” schools and “black” schools in the school district in which I was teaching. The black schools were shabby and poorly supplied, sending a clear message of inequality. Before we were transferred to Virginia, neighbors approached us to “make sure” when our house was put up for sale that we would sell only to whites. Angry and horrified, I told them we would sell the house to whoever had the money. We experienced a lot of racism in the many areas we have lived and it always saddened me as some people thought they were better than others, deserved more than others and continued to suppress. Man’s inhumanity to man – – how is it that we have not yet evolved into a better, healthier, more supportive, more inclusive society where ALL lives are equal?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susan Ekins says:

      Beautifully written, Paula. Thank you for sharing your memories–so scary about the fire hoses and being stuck in a telephone box while being sprayed. I love your last sentence in particular and will add it to my file of favorite quotes. I have another one you wrote (as a comment on Facebook after a different blog post): “Oh, if we could see ourselves as others see us and let their mirror reflect back to us the goodness, the capability, the strength they see in us — and perhaps, accept that their reflection is the true image of who we are.” Love and hugs to you, Paula.

      Like

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