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What Can We Do When the World Is Falling Apart? We Can Keep Showing Up

Photograph by Twenty20

In times like this, when the world feels like it makes no sense, I feel overwhelmed trying to think of ways I can help. Should I fly to Vegas? Donate blood? Send money? What on earth can I, a mom with four little kids at home, really do to make a difference?

I find myself getting depressed about the state of the world, wondering if I made a mistake bringing kids into it, wondering if anything I do even matters. But when the world feels like too much, I have to remind myself to focus on the way I can make a difference—especially because it's been right in front of me all along, right here at home.

Yes, there's a need for the big and the bold gestures, the dramatic efforts that make a difference, the daring rescues and the heroics of so many first responders and officers and medical staff who work tirelessly for others. Yes, there is a need for the people who are lining the Vegas streets right now to donate blood in an attempt to make up for the blood that has been shed from the victims of this horrific and senseless act of violence. Yes, there will always be a need for people who are willing to help.

But there is also a need for the people at home.

The world feels scary and bleak and hopeless right now. And honestly? I don't know what to do. I'm sitting at home, warm and cozy, and I feel helpless. I woke up, with the hope of Monday beckoning me, and my heart sank immediately when I opened my feeds this morning.

No, I thought to myself. This isn't happening again. But it is. And I don't know how to help. But you know what I do know how to do?

I know how to pack my children's backpacks and fix them their favorite snacks in their lunches because I know it will bring a smile to their faces at lunchtime.

I know how remind my husband to grab his cup of coffee as he rushes out of the door, because I know he will appreciate having it later on during his morning of teaching middle-schoolers.

I know how to switch a load of laundry and keep my family clothed.

I know how to plan our meals for the week, nourishing small bellies each and every day.

I know how to show up, each and every afternoon, to my children's school, my face the first they see after a long day of learning.

I know how to hug my 3-year-old, the soft chubbiness of her cheeks, the feel of her little arms around me slowly melting away into the long limbs of a big girl.

I know how to hide a breaking heart and cheer my children on as they grow before me.

I know how to scrub toilets and balance our budget and shop for groceries and clean floors and match socks and hang prized drawings on my fridge.

I know how to have the hard conversations with my kids, to be their safe place in a world that is so scary.

I know how to drop to my knees in prayer every night with my children, hoping and praying that they will be safe in this world without me someday.

I know how to be here, with them and for them.

And, right now, I have to believe that matters, too.

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