Moving From Discouraged Bystander to Inquisitive Activist

This month the first snow adorned our little slice of the world in a thin layer of marshmallow creme. My eyes adjusted throughout the morning, unaccustomed to seeing the world in such shimmering radiance. How is it that water can turn into a fine powder and send a million unique, microscopic delicately designed pieces of art floating towards the earth?

During this last tumultuous decade of my thirties, the world became drained of its magic.

For the first time in my entire life, I learned about the climate crisis, racism, misogyny, classicism, white supremacy, patriarchy, Christian nationalism, colonization, and worse my complicity in all of them.

How is it that I existed happily unaware, naïve, completely ignorant about anything going on in the world around me for so many years? I am very aware this fact speaks directly to my privilege as a white person, the fact I grew up immersed in the Christian narrative, and never learned to think critically, ask questions, or relate to others who held differing viewpoints, until much later in my life.

As I prepare to enter my 40s the question has now become- now what?

There are times where I feel too overwhelmed by the scope of these issues. Grief for the world runs rampant through my veins and all I have to offer are tears. Anger and sadness and denial cycle through my body like a never-ending virus.

Any response to these horrifying issues feels invisible, meager at best. I don’t know the best way forward.

But when I clock out of the clamoring inside my head and leave behind all the voices of guilt, fear, and hopelessness, I realize I might never know how to appropriately respond, but I can stay open to the shimmering radiance all around me.

When my eyes adjust to the wonder of being alive on this earth, I stay curious, ask questions, and seek to understand.

Could my response to the issues at hand simply begin with my full attention, a slowing down to study what is happening around me, staying enraptured with the billions of one-of-a-kind snowflakes dancing across this earth?

It certainly doesn’t feel like enough right now. But perhaps it is my next step in moving from a discouraged bystander to an inquisitive activist.


“When we choose to wonder about people we don’t know, when we imagine their lives and listen for their stories, we begin to expand the circle of those we see as part of us. We prepare ourselves to love beyond what evolution requires.”

-Valerie Kaur, See No Stranger


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