I am fascinated by this short poem by Piet Hein:
Losing one glove
is certainly painful,
compared to the pain
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
the first one again.
Apparently the poem was written as part of the Danish resistance during WWII, encouraging people not to throw away their patriotism and self respect just because Denmark had been captured by Germans.
In many ways, it is a more poetic subtle way of saying that no matter how hard a situation is, what matters is what the individual chooses to do in response to it. The response is the more painful, important thing.
I’ve been thinking about that the last few days. I’ve been thinking about it in terms of newspapers. Local newspapers are struggling. Competition with the internet has been hard for them, and now they have Covid-19 restricting both the ability to get news stories and decreasing advertisements. But, I’ve also been reminded recently about the need for people to continue to write letters to the editor and submit their own things to newspapers. There’s things that the majority of us cannot affect, but there are things we can do. We can write letters to the editor, because the local newspapers can run local letters instead of the national ones they use when they’re short letters.
I’ve been thinking about this in terms of bookstores and the need to support small stores. We can’t fix everything, but we can still support small stores. We can support artists, writers, bloggers, and other small places.
I’ve dropped the ball. I used to be better at taking actions, even small ones. I need to do that again.