Sunday Morning ~ Helping
August 25, 2019
Kanthu n’kugwirizana, fisi adamlanda mbuzi. ~ We have to help one another, that’s how they took the goat from the hyena.
~ Chewa proverb
It was a busy week here with the big party on Wednesday. Like everyone else I know, I’m desperate to do something to help restore some sanity and self respect to the country I call home. If there is anything to be thankful for it’s the civics lesson. I thought about combining my skills (party throwing) with saving the country, so put my name in to host a party for Betsy Sweet, a fabulous woman running for US Senate in Maine. There are loads of smart capable women in this state and I’ve worked with many of them, but Betsy stands out even among them. When I prayed for a capable candidate, Betsy emerged from the mist like a haloed angel. The first time I heard her speak in support of Janet Mills, our governor, I thought, “Wow, this is a woman who could actually beat Susan Collins, our senatorial embarrassment.” I’d been hand wringing for months about who could do that, worried no one but an unknown, hand selected DNC pick who didn’t really want the job would be the candidate. My heart swelled as I heard Betsy speak and thought, “No, not a lackluster recruit, she can right this ship.” I felt the same way the first time I heard Obama speak.
So that was last October when I was fresh back to the world of clean, reliable, running water (unless you live in Flint). Janet Mills won the governorship and I’d lost track of Betsy until April when I saw her at a climate March. I was lamenting to a friend walking along that I didn’t see anyone on the horizon willing and able to challenge Collins, and he said, “Betsy Sweet is considering it.” She was marching at the front holding a banner and I ran to the front of the parade, found Betsy and introduced myself. I asked if it was true? She smiled her big, contagious smile, and nodded. OMG, I nearly hugged her. I think I actually jumped up and down clapping. I told her I’m her girl. I will do anything to help. I said I’d walk her dog, do her laundry, clean her house, ANYTHING to help. She laughed and thanked me. So that’s when my love affair started and after she declared, I put my name on a list of people willing to host house parties. We decided on a date and I invited loads of people, knowing it is summer and there are millions of events and fundraisers and families visiting and kids going off to college for the first time with nostalgic parents preparing. So turnout was iffy. I fretted. Ruth came up from New York to help and we had our usual fun in the kitchen together. Amelia, still here at grandma camp, also pitched in. She added flour to the bread dough, chopped what she could, made signs saying “Betsy to vote” then Xed out the “to” and wrote “for” and spent some time deciding how to place the “Vote” in front of “Betsy”. We had lots of talks about why we were having the party and she had lots of preconceptions of birthday cakes, presents, and games about to be squelched.
On Tuesday, Ruth was scrolling down some headlines on her phone and Amelia saw an image of starving people in Yemen which scared her. She said she was scared of skeletons. I told her they were not skeletons, they were people, and they were that thin because they haven’t any food. They are starving. She said she didn’t want to see those people. I told her most people don’t want to see them. But there are other ways to help them even if you don’t look at them. I thought it was a good opportunity to get in a lesson about why we were having this party. I said if we get more people into our government who are willing to help people like them we’ll all be better off. She was listening. I said that’s why it was so great she was helping with this party, it would help get Betsy in a position to help others like the ones who are starving. She renewed her assistance kneading bread with a little more intention. I could see her thinking. What a sweet child. I love her so much.
The party went well, despite the rain and the fact that Ruth had to keep emptying puddles on the tent with a broom while Betsy spoke. Betsy said my enthusiasm for her at the April climate march was one of the things that pushed her decision to run over the top. (Won’t that be a nice claim to fame when she’s senator!! I’m so excited!) Enough people came to fill the tent and there was great energy. Amelia learned that not all parties were super fun for six year olds but she was a star. She was also incredibly helpful in cleaning up, asking me repeatedly if Betsy had helped those starving people yet?
It’s humbling to see the world through a child’s eyes. Lots of lessons learned about how we can help, even if we can’t bring ourselves to look starving people in the eye and take responsibility for our part. We can at least knead the bread.
Love to all,