I’ve been waiting until the dust settles- both figuratively and literally. Not just after Mother’s Day, but after the ground shook Nepal so hard that it killed over 8,000 people, injured over 17,000, destroyed 10% of homes, and affected a quarter of the country.
I’ve been waiting because we all remember Kony 2012, and increasing incidents of slacktivism, when one donates or takes actions that have little to no effect beyond making one feel like one contributed. And then there’s the endless list of charities that aren’t really charitable at all that make the idea of trying to help seem, well, hopeless. It makes acting too soon and not having your contributions go where you intended or where they’re needed most an active fear in most of us, and my other fear is that because of this, so many of us stop trying to help altogether. Not because we’re lazy or we don’t care, but because we don’t know what to do.
But today, on Mother’s Day, I think about how my mom raised two daughters on her own while working a full-time job. How we never missed a softball game, cheerleading competition, student council meeting, or anything else we ever wanted to do. We lived paycheck to paycheck- sometimes our electricity got shut off. I think about it all the time- not just on Mother’s Day but almost everyday and wonder how my mom did it. I try to put myself in her shoes and more often, pray that I’ll never have to. Because I have no idea how I would or if I could do it. And then I realize that my mom probably had those same thoughts- “How am I going to do this? What do I do?” I know for a fact that there were times when she wondered how she was going to put groceries on the table- and even more times when her entire paycheck was spent before she even got it.
But this is what moms do- they keep trying. Even when it seems in vain, even when they have no clue what to do or how they’re going to do it, they keep trying. And how lucky I am to have a mom that never gave up- on me, or herself, because who or where would I be without her?
When I think about how lucky I am to have that mom of mine, for some reason this year I think of not only those that never got to have someone like her, but of those that did have a mother that spectacular and lost her. And of those amazing mothers who did have daughters, and sons, and husbands, and lost them, or are separated from them. And I immediately think of Nepal- something that, from the minute I heard about, wanted to be able to help with, but buried, like much of the country is right now, in the back of my mind. Because I didn’t know what to do. But it’s Mother’s Day, and if there is any reminder for me to keep going and keep trying even when I have no idea what to do, it’s the day when I celebrate the woman who has done just that her entire life.
And while no, I have never even been to Nepal, I am a human being that holds a beating heart overflowing with compassion to the point that it could be and has been considered a fault. I lay sleepless at night sometimes- wondering how I can ever do enough to help this beautiful but seemingly damned world. And I feel sick to my stomach knowing that others have felt this same way and have become so discouraged, feeling like they can never do enough, that they’ve just stopped “doing” all together.
But you guys- don’t; don’t stop doing. Don’t stop trying, because all that keeps this beautiful but seemingly damned world of ours going is that we do keep doing, and we do keep trying- just like our moms taught us.
Today, as we feel our hearts well up with gratitude for the women that brought us into this world and love us like no one else ever could, let’s remind ourselves of the power we have to help those powerless mothers reunite with their children, or children that have lost their mothers, and let’s act on it, but let’s be smart about it.
The dust is settling, and it’s becoming clear where we can help the most- on a day when we’re counting our lucky stars, let’s remember that there are entire regions of this world that are so figuratively dark, they’ve lost hope that those same stars even exist.
And even though it may seem like we can never do enough, don’t you think that’s exactly how our moms felt at least one, but probably more times than we can count? So today I make my donation to Nepal, in honor of the best woman in my world. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do enough, but I’ll never stop trying. Because I know she felt that same way, and that she kept trying too, and I happen to think I turned out just fine.
Thanks, Mama, and thank you to everyone that continues to try, even when we wonder if it will ever be enough.
Here is some information on how you can help the most: