First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.*
I had the opportunity to visit Dachau at a rather impressionable age. And it made a profound impression on me.
I encountered the above quote much later, but because of Dachau, it too left an impression. It is my icon of the truth that we are either all in this life together – or we are ALL alone.
I’d rather err on the side of together.
I’ve never doubted that my abundance depended on and required others’ abundance as well. But it was one of those vague, impersonal concepts.
Now it is a very clear and specific one! (And here I thought I’d derive no benefit from a Trump Presidency.)
Millions of people are now at risk, in my own country, of atrocities I prefer to think could never happen here, and want to think can no longer happen anywhere. It still inspires a moment of deer-in-headlights incredulity from time to time.
So, I’ve had more than a little struggle, these past weeks, pondering:
“How do we build lives of peace, joy, and abundance in this current reality?’
While a Trump presidency will make that more difficult for most Americans, that doesn’t mean we can’t do it!
Which brought me to another favourite quote:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. **
So, I’m thinking I’ll need to commit what energy I have to being part of the revolution my country needs.
First, of course, I need to have that energy! The main value of abundance is that you can’t really contribute out of anything else … not for very long anyway. Or you burn out.
And that doesn’t help anyone.
What, then, do I need to build into my life, to be able to contribute well?
Getting further past the illness and stress that saps my energy is foundational.
Getting settled in a more healthy environment, seems necessary.
And CERTAINLY finishing my current work project well, then finding a new job or set of projects that not only pay the bills, but also allow me to live an abundant life, makes sense.
But then, in what areas can I contribute BEST?
Because let’s face it, there are far too many needs in the world, and now in these United States, for any one person to invest meaningfully in more than a handful!
So, what inspires my very best effort?
Not letting the future look like this past year. More than anything this election has shown me that I need to contribute to the efforts of normal people just like me to wrench back our country from the control of the powerful and wealthy.
And standing with my fellow Americans, who, like so many before them, find themselves targeted because of nationalistic politics. (That one may not be my best area of contribution, but it just has to be a moral imperative.)
Working toward the systems and structures that support living an abundant life.
Beyond those I’m still working on it.
What about you?
Are there concerns, realisations, musings, or decisions that this last year(ish) has inspired in you?
Are there fears or concerns you have because of it?
Has it affected your views of what abundance looks like? Or how we achieve it?
Are there any changes you see yourself making as a result of it?
* First They Came written by Pastor Martin Niemoller, who spent several years in Nazi Concentration Camps, including Dachau.
** Most commonly attributed to anthropologist Margaret Mead, though original source is not certain.