“Service is the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of our life, and not something you do in your spare time.” Marian Wright Edelman
I make my home in Oregon, a hidden gem of Northwest Pacific Wonderland among our 50 states. Today hundreds of thousands of our beautiful forests are on fire. Half of all the firefighters out working are trying to quell the ravaging burn amidst scorching temperatures. For the first time in thirty years, Cycle Oregon, more a celebration of lifestyle than a bike tour was cancelled as more and more of the fires are finding each other. The blue sky shrouded in smoke for as far as you can see. Many people can’t live in Oregon for its long rainy season and last year was one of the hardest I remember in 20 years. Oregonians never ask for early rain, until now.
And yet like the fires, the rains too have lost their way. Unheard of amounts of rain pillaging what was once a sprawling city, washing away lifetimes of hard work in days. The storm of a century… a fire season unlike any other. In truth, this extreme weather has been careening around the globe for many years. On the same day that the Houston we know drowned so did the lives of over a million of people living in India and Nepal. Indonesia has been burning up for years- at our corporations hands.
It feels biblical, and maybe this is the turning point that so many holy books have pointed at. Certainly it is an awakening. One of the last things that Obama said before he left office is that you can say whatever you want, but reality has a way of catching up with you. And so here we stand together in fire and flood a people united and divided.
Most days now I am afraid and I don’t know what to do. Even as my days mostly maintain their shape and known destinations, I feel caught, barely able to catch my breath with the rising tide of uncertainty and anxiety that has come to define life on this tiny blue planet for so many. If you haven’t already seen it, now would be a good time to watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s National Geographic epic documentary Before the Flood and plan to include a nice bottle of wine or favorite beer. It will clarify the mess we find ourselves in like no other and hopefully inspire you to action. Any kind of action- that increases your compassion.
For me, the answer to my fear, to feeling lost is to give more. Mother Teresa said “There are many in the world, who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love. “ I am heartened, and find myself weepy as I witness the outpouring of generosity occurring every day in the catastrophe that is Texas and now Louisiana again. People saving each other. This is our last hope, that we can at last be there for each other. That we stop listening to the agitators, give up the silos of hatred fed by ancient prejudices about each other’s unworthiness and fall into each other’s arms.
Good Clean Love is doubling our monthly donation cycle to offer 20% of all our web sales for the months of August and September to help bring food, clothing and hope to those who have lost everything. We are also going to send hundreds of bottles of Balance Wash, and maybe some lube too. Join me please, take your fears and turn them into love – give more, give anything. And then wake up tomorrow and do it again.