Showing Up – #PoetryMonth 2018 – April 15

Showing Up
A bitter wind
pushes a fog
before the eyes
of compassionate people
obscuring the truth
until all they see
is the gray
until all they feel
is wetness on their cheeks
until all they know
is the dullness
of morally false
equivocations
and
obfuscations

and when they
start to believe
that gray is reality

a single sharp light arrives
a child with a candle perhaps
and then another
a mother with a mission perhaps
and then another
a father with a message perhaps
and then another
and another
and another
until the gray mist
has transitioned into
a brilliant spectrum
to remind the people
that the only truth
that matters is
love

Poetry Month 2018
I’ve resolved a few times to write a poem a day during the month of April, and I actually succeeded once. I’m again trying it out. No idea what each day will bring. Some light verse, some politics, some “oh shit I didn’t write anything today” haikus. If you read one and feel moved to comment, please do. If you want to share your poetry, please share!
PS: Today’s poem prompt was provided by the photo
Previous Post

A beautiful #rainbow #shield of love to protect all kids from hate

This morning some hateful people came from Kansas to harass students at an elementary school and antagonize parents and school officials over a bulletin board display that discussed gender issues.

It turned out to be a gorgeous (if slightly chilly) morning, and a fabulous day. Not only because there were twice as many sheriff personnel (eight by my count) as hatemongers (four that I saw in this NBC video), but because the rainbow umbrella shield created by parents and community members, to express support for and to protect all children, was so astonishingly robust. More than 20 showed up before 7 a.m., and I’d guess about 120 of us were there at the peak.

I heard singing. I heard a ukulele. I saw two people in rainbow-colored unicorn costumes, with two dogs–one black and one white. I heard laughing, chatting, and a lot of kind people meeting each other for the first time.

The organizer, the school and district authorities, and law enforcement officials did an outstanding job of making the hatemongers’ morning a total nonevent. But they made our morning one to remember by bringing so many kind, loving, supportive people out to let all kids know they matter. This is really how a show of support should look when hate comes to town.

Also, I was interviewed on live TV. I show up at about the 1:13 mark.

Number one #WorkplaceGiving campaign 9 years running. Two million #volunteer hours. #MicDrop

I started my first job out of UC Berkeley in July, 1989, working as a tech writer at Boeing on the B-2. Six companies and 14 years later, on February 23, 2003, I was hired full time at Wells Fargo to work in community affairs. Today is my 15th anniversary as an employee. That means that sometime in the last few months, I officially passed the point where I have been a Wells Fargo employee longer than I have not been a Wells Fargo employee since graduating college.

 

Me accepting a national Summit award from United Way CEO Brian Gallagher (um… 2011?)

Five years after being hired, I was promoted to manage the team and then, along with dear friend Melissa Buchanan, I co-led the integration of Wachovia’s and Wells Fargo’s employee giving and volunteer programs. The next year, 2009, the employee giving campaign rose to United Way Worldwide’s #1 ranking in the US for the first time ever.

This week, Wells Fargo announced that our workplace giving campaign was recognized as #1 in the US for the 9th year in a row… every year I’ve managed the group. Also, in 2017 our volunteer program recorded over 2 million hours for the first time ever.

I’ve been privileged to work with an incredible team of wonderful people–each one brilliant, dedicated, hard working, high integrity, and overflowing with compassion. It’s hard to leave such a team of people I respect deeply and am proud to call my friends, but it’s time for me to “lose sight of the shore” to discover new oceans. I will enjoy an enduring pride for all I helped build at Wells Fargo, and I know I will take a wealth of knowledge and experience into whatever I build next. I go into a new, as yet uncharted, adventure with tremendous gratitude for all the wonderful people I have worked with the last 15 years, and all the opportunity and memories the company provided.

My Wells Fargo team in 2015

You want to help. What can you do?

CBS news posted a terrific article illustrating why giving money is so much more effective than giving stuff (or worse, organizing your own collection drive) after a disaster. But you want to help. Can you do anything more than just text ten bucks to Red Cross?

You sure can. Things you can do now:

  1. Donate to American Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Team Rubicon, or other disaster relief agencies.
  2. Donate to long term recovery. United Way of Greater Houston is a great option as they will know how and where to apply funds during the years of recovery after the news crews have left. Consider donating to other organizations that provide job training, child care, access to health care, education, and help with clothing, housing, or food.
  3. Prepare yourself, your family, and your community for a disaster locally. If you’ve got kids, have them help. Learn the locations and phone numbers of your local relief agencies.
  4. Give blood if you can. Your blood won’t help people in Houston, but donated blood has a short shelf life, and your local supplies always need replenishing.
  5. Put a reminder on your calendar for six months or a year from now to check in on recovery efforts, and to see if it might make sense to hold a collection drive or fundraiser then, or to join an onsite volunteer effort.
  6. Donate and volunteer locally. The best way for a community to recover from a future disaster is to build a strong, thriving infrastructure with the services in place to help when help is needed.

Also, please don’t forward those stories that go viral after every disaster. You know the ones… about the 8 year old who organized a collection drive of Pez dispensers, or teddy bears, or school supplies. Heartwarming and full of love, but ultimately not terribly effective.

And do not even think about going to the disaster area to help unless you are trained in disaster response and are mobilized by an aid organization. Seriously, no matter how willing and able you are, you will only add to the number of people burdening the water, food, security, transportation, and sewage infrastructure. Stay out of the way of the experts, but help them by giving money they can use to do their jobs efficiently.