I want to start today’s affirmation with some wise words from one of my favorite writers, the incomparable E.B. White:
“A writer must reflect and interpret his society, his world; he must also provide inspiration and guidance and challenge. Much writing today strikes me as deprecating, destructive, and angry. There are good reasons for anger, and I have nothing against anger. But I think some writers have lost their sense of proportion, their sense of humor, and their sense of appreciation. I am often mad, but I would hate to be nothing but mad: and I think I would lose what little value I may have as a writer if I were to refuse, as a matter of principle, to accept the warming rays of the sun, and to report them, whenever, and if ever, they happen to strike me.”
Today friends, let’s remember that we are each the authors of our own stories. That the lives we create, through the intricate weaving together of our acts and attitudes, will one day be our great contribution to humanity’s ever-evolving narrative. That “our very flesh,” as Walt Whitman wrote, is indeed, “a great poem.”
Our world is rarely black and white, and yet we are often drawn to the extremes as if by magnetic force. Life feels less random when there’s a right group and a wrong group. More comfortable when we’re able to reason our way into whatever camp we believe is more fair or ethical. Our anger will always feel justified when we’ve convinced ourselves it’s an expression of our passion. Even when that anger is really nothing more than an extension of our fear.
The truth is, if we want to write a story we can be proud of, we must be willing to wade into the shades of gray.
To find gratitude for the goodness that does exist in the world, and reflect it back to others whenever we can.
To acknowledge the small pinpricks of hope we stumble upon, even in the midst of our deepest struggles.
We can’t push away the light, simply because we haven’t eliminated all the darkness.
Which means we are being called, not to eradicate the world’s evils, but to contribute what light we do find to the unfolding story in which we’ve been invited to play a part. To be a reflection of the good we see in the world. To remember that with every interaction, every conversation, every post or paragraph we compose, we are crafting a story that is at the same time uniquely ours, yet somehow everyone else’s, too.