I'm currently reading Brené Brown's new book, "Braving the Wilderness" and have come to the conclusion that she is my spirit animal. It's like having a therapist in a convenient carrying package, bound between the covers of the pages. Lately, I've been struggling to articulate why I am so enmeshed in my work - why it is so important to me - and then I pick this book up and I'm blown away. She nails it.
Brown writes, "So if we love the idea of humankind but people in general are constantly on our nerves, and we can't cover everything we don't like in leather, how do we cultivate and grow our belief in inextricable human connection internally? The answer that emerged from my research shocked me. Show up for collective moments of joy and pain so we can actually bear witness to inextricable human connection.
In simpler terms, we have to catch some of that lightning in a bottle. We have to catch enough glimpses of people connecting to one another and having fun together that we believe it's true and possible for all of us.
I always knew these moments were important to me. I knew they were connected to my spiritual well-being and allowed me to stay in love with humanity while doing research that can be devastating and hard. I just didn't know why. Now I do."
Oh, my heart. Yes.
This is why I love what I do. I don't love the admin side of things (I don't dislike it. I just don't love it) - the conference calls and the endless onslaught of emails and being a punching bag for people's frustrations when things don't go the way they are expected or desired to. That's the JOB part of my work. But the reason BEHIND why those things need to get done, the people we serve on the disaster ground and the volunteers whose lives are impacted by that service...that is what I love. And I couldn't explain to people WHY I love it so much until Brené Brown put it to words.
This work is the epitome of showing up for the collective moments of joy and pain. It is evidence of the inextricable human connection, day in and day out. And it's not just during a disaster; these moments play out during our training events, our social events, and in the middle of Facebook chats every single day.
It is this...
People can get on our nerves. We can get to the point where all we want to do is blanket the world in leather so we don't have to put up with those things that annoy us and I find myself there more often than I care to admit. The one thing that recalibrates my perspective on people, on humanity, is getting up off my ass and showing up for those moments. And let me tell you, rarely do those moments happen while sitting in front of my computer or in my own house.
36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."