Yesterday, my daughter had the day off of school so we had the entire day to hang out and do mother/daughter things. Before the day got started we were cuddling on the couch, lazily watching TV and waking up. She was waking up slowly and I was lurking through Facebook on my phone, trying to avoid the government shutdown posts that cause me to feel so extremely sad, helpless and hopeless.
I happened to come across a more hopeful post about the shutdown, a chef in CA who is feeding those directly affected by the shutdown. This chef chose to offer what they can to government workers required to work, but aren’t being paid. I immediately felt a combination of hope and shame after seeing what this chef is doing. I was hopeful because, even though members of our government are not providing for constituents in the worst way, here we have a case of a constituent providing for constituents. I felt shame because I was disappointed in myself for not thinking of providing for my fellow constituents directly affected by the shutdown on my own.
Since the shutdown began I have been feeling emotionally exhausted and fearful, I’ve been verbally vomiting my feelings and opinions with my friends about the shutdown, ignoring and avoiding posts and stories about it and feeling like piece of shit for my avoidant behavior.
I wasn’t ‘practicing what I preach’…for example, What can we learn from this? How can we help with this? Look for the helpers, look for solutions.
Solutions that I might be able to provide.
I am, however, grateful for lurking on facebook that morning so I could see and be inspired by the chef in CA. I am grateful for facebook as a platform to deliver to the world what this chef is doing. I am grateful for the opportunity to help, even a little, in this situation. I am grateful I saw that post! That chef inspired my daughter and I to go to Kwik Trip (a local gas station and food mart) and buy 10 $20.00 gift cards. It’s all we could currently provide at this time, but it’s something. I can’t single handedly stop the shut down, but I can help where needed.
We all can.
I have since decided I no longer get to bitch about the shutdown, and spew verbal vomit about the government assholes endorsing the shutdown if I myself am not willing to do what I can to care for my fellow community members.
So, my daughter and I went to the airport and delivered the Kwik Trip gift cards to TSA. My daughter and I both agreed TSA were the workers we wanted to help this time because as she said, “They keep us safe when we fly Mama”. The TSA manager had tears in his eyes as he expressed his gratitude saying this will help. The TSA agent we initially approached at the airport mentioned the public have been kind and patient but she seemed surprised we wanted to give gift cards and then gave me a huge hug. It felt SO good and totally worth the money to DO SOMETHING to help another person.
Best of all my daughter got to be a part of this very valuable lesson in empathy, caring for neighbors and giving to strangers. She shared she was very happy to help and added she ‘felt really good’ for helping people ‘buy food and toys for their kids’.
I wish there was more I could do and buy more gift cards at this time, but until I can, I’m sharing this blog post in hopes to inspire others, like the chef’s story inspired me. There are many other government workers affected by the shutdown in addition to TSA.
If you are able to, please allow me to respectfully encourage you to DO WHAT YOU CAN.
The Psyko Therapist