This was in my email inbox yesterday morning:
Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive. - Titus 3:14
We often think productivity equals activity but that is absolutely so far from the truth. One only needs to google “productivity hacks” to find a million and one ways to theoretically be more productive. Productivity is good. We all want to get stuff done. The first step in being productive is to identify what exactly you want to produce. What will be the product of all this productivity?
Today more than ever, it doesn’t take extrasensory powers of observation to see how the urgent and unmet needs of our fellow humans have impacted our entire world. We, the collective “we” the “we” that is all of us, have been so busy being productive we forgot to peek outside our bubble to see how we might do good by meeting the urgent needs of our neighbors. It’s not that we didn’t want to or that somehow we chose to ignore the signs. I am a firm believer in the fact that, for the most part, people desire to do good. Whether it’s within their relationship, within their family or encompassing an entire community or continent. I believe we all want to live in a world where human needs, especially our own, are met. We are encouraged to “think globally” and there is so much great need in our world that it’s hard to focus.
But we did, in fact, ignore the signs. Civil unrest was met with fearmongering and status quo apathy. YOLO and FOMO and I Got Mine replaced our responsibility to be “productive” with each other; to consciously and intentionally work at producing a community that meets the needs of its members. We are left with disconnection and discontent.
The reactions to the results of the recent election run the gamut from rejoicing to fleeing to Canada to active, voracious protests to resistance. And I’m OK with all of that. Well, except the fleeing part. You can’t rebuild a community or a country by running away, although I can empathize with the sentiment. To build community we must let go of our fear of otherness and recognize ourselves in the people around us. Our common suffering, our common desires, our common fear and frustrations, even finding a sliver of what we have in common with those who voted for “the other guy.”
I’m not saying “get over it,” because, truly, that’s not productive. We must be diligent. We have to stand up for what we believe. We must live with integrity and in congruence with our values. But we don’t have to tear others down or cut others out to do it. If we do that, we’re just right back where we started. As the saying goes, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results.”