I was volunteering today at William Penn House, which was providing a comfort station for marchers during the day, as well as being full to capacity with guests.
I was doing some work in the office when a woman who looked about my age came who was in town with a group of women from Long Island for the March.
She came in to William Penn House for a bathroom, not because of any connection to Quakers or the house. But while she was waiting in line for the bathroom she ended up in conversation with the executive director, who said that the board member volunteering downstairs was also from Long Island–perhaps she knew me. It turns out that we went to the same elementary school and lived near enough to each other that we rode the same school bus.
It is just one of the reminders I’ve had this weekend of how connected we are.
Yesterday, the first of the year, I pulled off the shelf and opened at random Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird.” I’d found it used some time ago and was interested, but other things got ahead of it on my reading pile. The page to which I opened seems highly topical for what is coming this year:
For instance, I used to think that paired opposites were a given, that love was the opposite of hate, right the opposite of wrong. But now I think we sometimes buy into these concepts because it is so much easier to embrace absolutes than to suffer reality. I don’t think anything is the opposite of love. Reality is unforgivingly complex.
May we find enough love to suffer well the complexities to come this year. For me, I know that deepening and recommitting to my practice will help me find what more I can offer.
This evening I went for the first time into the Anderson House of the Society for the Cincinnati. I was attending an event for supporters of Casey Trees, one of my favorite local charities, which is devoted to protecting and expanding DC’s tree canopy.
I give because I believe it is an important part of a living practice (dana–charitable giving is a companion to seva–volunteer service). Getting to discover this garden was an unexpected delight, but not the goal.