The world has been tugging at me lately. I move through my packed life often complaining about all my busy woes. And then I come across an image or a story or a thought that squashes all those worries with sudden gratitude and brings things into focus. It is in these moments of clarity that I realize that most of the things I dread, most of the reasons I drag my feet, most of my complaints are rooted in the fact that I have a full life. Full of food that needs preparing, a house that needs cleaning, relationships that need tending, clothes that need folding. Basically luxuries that need maintaining and blessings that need managing. It’s the stability of my life that enables me to worry about little details, notice small headaches, feel wearied by my to do list. This impossibly long list of things to work through each day exists BECAUSE my life is FULL of good things and the security to pursue them.
Lately most of these moments of clarity have come from thinking about the plight of SO many people in the world seeking refuge right now. At our most recent church general conference this talk urging us to reach out to refugees struck me hard, had me in tears. In the fall we had a great lesson at church about finding refuge and how we all need different kinds of refuge at different times in our lives for different reasons. And over the past 6 weeks I’ve been working on interviewing women in our congregation to make a video of how they have needed and found refuge in their lives. It’s had me thinking about the refuge I’ve personally received during turbulent times in my life and what a balm it has been to be succored by others, by my faith, by my savior. The refuge I’ve needed has been mostly emotional and it has been manageable. I can’t imagine living through the to-do list of so many mothers right now: stay alive, keep my children alive, don’t get shot, get on the boat, get through the barbed wire, find food, find shelter, build a new life in a strange often unwelcoming place. I can’t imagine having the safety and security stripped away that enables me to work through my little day to day worries.
It’s tricky sitting in my cushy life, knowing what to do. I’ve had so many conversations with sisters and friends about how sad this refugee crisis is but we always leave the conversation uneasy, not sure what it is we can actually do. And then life gets busy again and those feelings get swept up with the laundry and errands.
Enter Go Jane Give. I’ve been serving as a board member of this brilliant new non profit that is targeting women just like me. Women who want to do something to alleviate suffering but don’t know where to start. Women who have felt the tug of humanity but feel they are so small compared with the big problems of the world. And so far away. And so consumed with their every day lives. Go Jane Give aims to help women like us know where to start. To help us turn our talents and interests into simple fundraisers to get money to some of the most effective non-profits addressing the world’s biggest challenges.
So I went through their platform (here) and viola! within minutes I had my page all ready to go. It’s super simple and is packed with inspiring (and easy) ideas that will help us become activists for change just by doing what we do day to day.
Click through to my fund raising page, Say Cheese for Refugees! I'm offering mini-portrait sessions in four different cities this spring/summer for anyone who donates to RefugePoint, an amazing organization that helps the worlds most vulnerable refugees. And if you can't make a portrait session still donate! I'll send you a list of my top ten tips for taking your own portraits.
Also, go explore Go Jane Give, and thank me later. You can be among the first to use the platform and create your own fund-raising page. The site is just lovely and you'll be tickled by how easy it is to start making a difference, there are even ideas for 'no effort' efforts (my favorites). You’ll also feel super motivated to start making a difference in the larger world if you read Josie’s article here, it’ll give you a clear vision for the unique mission of GJG. You'll find an awesome new community of women who are serious about doing our parts, within our spheres, with the time and talents we have to change the world for good. This idea of lifestyle giving is going to take off like wildfire, I'm sure of it. I’d also love to hear your reactions to this new space in social media. I think it’s super refreshing!
But by the Grace of God there go I.
(images all Photography Pulitzer for Coverage of Refugee Crisis, NYTimes)