"I'm holding tight & letting go" are words from a poem in my last book, Collages & Letter Poems.
Today, this week, these months and these last few years slip silently into these words.
Screaming in the silence.
Every morning I listen to the news on CBC radio, often listening to NPR for a few minutes as well, to follow what our neighbour to the South is talking about.
But today I again turned off the radio before the newscast was over.
Too much pain.
Too many shootings of people in public places.
Too many missiles raining down on civilians, destroying cities and tearing families apart.
Too much conflict that I have no control of.
Even when I turn off my radio so as not to hear about the famine, floods and murders, still they happen.
My heart hurts.
And now, some medical experts are "worrying about a potential “tripledemic.” yalemedicine.org writes that "There’s no scientific definition for this term; it simply refers to a collision of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), flu, and COVID-19 to the extent that it might overwhelm hospital emergency departments. "
I remember many, many years ago fighting for abortion rights in Canada. Supporting CARAL in its fight to allow abortions without the approval of a hospital Therapeutic Abortion Committee.
And abortion laws were changed.
When I was at college in Boston, I marched supporting integration in the schools. And our efforts led to some changes.
Now injustices around the world seem out of reach.
I donated to the Red Cross and wear a sunflower pin to indicate my support of Ukraine, but nothing changes in this brutal and destructive war.
My support of climate action doesn't make crops grow on parched soil today or tomorrow.
So, I am doing what I can locally.
I am a member of Avodah, the social action group at Congregation Emanu-El in Victoria, and we are active in supporting local organizations and schools. "Briefly, we presently are engaged in an ambitious and broad-ranging set of initiatives to bolster food security, to address housing challenges, and to promote health and well-being among youth"**We are in the midst of a fund-drive so we will have the funds to continue with our financial assistance to organizations benefiting people in our greater Victoria communities.
And, with this work, we can actually see the benefits.
Avodah has supported a local school for 2 years, helping to fund "good food boxes" which delivers fresh fruit and vegetables monthly to 3 families in a low-income area of the city. Foods I buy for my own meals, regardless of rising prices.
Through two local community centres, Avodah is contributing to housing assistance.
We were told that a local family has avoided eviction because of our recent contributions.
While I can't stop the horrid murders in shopping centres in the United States or the destruction of whole cities in Ukraine, I can make a real difference in the Victoria community.
While my heart still hurts, these local opportunities allow my shoulders to relax just a little, and the pain to subside a small amount.
I am actually doing something at a time when I often feel so useless and unable to do anything at all!
If you would like to make a donation to help us continue our commitment and assistance to local organizations please phone Congregation Emanu-El at 250-382-0615 Please indicate it's for Avodah. Until January 1 all donations are being matched.
*Canadian Association for Repeal of the Abortion Law (CARAL) was a coalition of abortion rights activists, created in 1974, to protest the incarceration of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who was jailed for providing safe, yet not legalized, abortions in Canada.
** from the high holiday issue of Koleinu, from Congregation Emanu-El