Take your journal out, + meditate on this for a few minutes — what does it mean to be a good human? Who is the first person that comes to your mind when you imagine a good human? What qualities, characteristics, habits, etc define a good human?
Last week, I was blessed to be able to take part in a journey through Israel with REALITY — I have 01938493075 thoughts going through my head about this experience, + still need time to process everything. More posts to come later! : ) But, I’m going to try my best to articulate what I’m currently grappling with.
There were 50 of us on the trip — all between the ages of 21+45, working in the sports field. The trip is centered around showing the complexity of Israel in order to inspire the attendees to create impactful change within their communities back home.
Many of our conversations throughout the trip started with talking about the conflict in Israel + finding a parallel to what’s happening back in the states. One of my friends + I had a converstion on Black Lives Matter, in which I asked him — what are the top three things I can do to support this movement? The first thing he said, whenever you hear any racist or discriminatory or belittling comment — even if it’s meant to be a *joke* — say something. I told him that I’m completely aligned with what he’s saying, but that I felt like I’m never in conversations where this could be applied…
On the last day of the trip, one of the most hilarious + loving ((+ “oldest” at 40 something years old)) guys of the group made a comment on how it really started to sadden him that people would make *old jokes* about him. He said that at first it was funny, but after a couple days, he started questioning — am I really that old? I don’t feel old. It was heartbreaking to hear him share this, + despite someone saying, “Man, you’re not old! If you were really that old, we wouldn’t make a joke about it,” it made me realize…. this was a time when someone was belittled ((even though it was all through jokes!)) + I could have said something. It didn’t even cross my mind until he shared he thoughts that it hurt him — but that’s where empathy comes in. It’s so important for us to be aware of the conversations happening around us, + to put ourselves in other peoples’ shoes.
We must stop the labels. I feel like it’s the labels ((old, young, black, white, thin, thick, etc)) that ultimately separate us — we are humans… one human race! Once we change our mindset to think about the collective, I think that’s when we will start to grow closer to unity. We all have the capability to start this shift in our mindsets immediately.
This was one of the most profound quotes I saw at the Yad Vashem — The World Holocaust Remembrance Center:
First they came for the Socialists, + I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, + I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, + I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — + there was no one left to speak for me.
A question that I’m asking myself — what am I tolerating?
Coming home from Israel, I was ((+ still am)) incredibly inspired, but I also felt a lot of saddness. I felt overwhelmed with the conflict going on in the world. I didn’t have much time to reflect, as a day later was the fourth of July + I had plans to go camping in Pictured Rocks, Michigan.
Well… let’s just say God gave me a firm nudge while in Pictured Rocks. I’d love to share via text, but this post is getting long ++ I think it might be fun for you to see this story via video. Head to my Instagram [@etavierne] + look at the “highlight” — good people.
I feel like God was saying — You do not need to be overwhelmed by the conflict. It’s important to be aware + informed, but it’s even more important to be a good person, + inspire those around you to be good people. Education starts in the family… it starts in the community… it starts with all of those you interact with. Speak up! Smile! Ask people how they are doing. Give to causes you believe in, but don’t allow the media to give you fearful thoughts — there are so many good people in the world, focus on that! It’s all about taking the next right step… don’t forget that.
As of today, my morning prayer has been:
Open my heart. // Open my mind. // Open my eyes + allow me to see the face of God in everyone + everything.
I believe in the power of the collective. I believe that we can create impact together — right now. Smile at the next person you see + ask them how they are doing or what the best part of their day has been.
Thinking back on how you answered, “what does it mean to be a good human?” — has anything shifted since hearing these stories? What three characteristics that come to your mind when you think about a good human? Of the three characteristics, which of them do you most want to work on within yourself? I’d love to hear! ((Or feel free to share any comments on the topics of this post — I know there’s a lot going on, thanks for hanging in there!))
Rooting for you always,