Alice Walker, in her novel Possessing the Secret of Joy, once wrote that the secret of joy is resistance — collective and individual resistance — to injustice (In the case of the book, the abhorrent practice of female genital mutilation). I have often thought, however, she was also talking about resisting apathy and isolation in the face of injustices you may not have the power to stop.
I was thinking about that a lot as I painted my ‘Cards for Humanity’.
Every hour, if you choose to listen, you can hear another story of man’s inhumanity to man in almost every part of the world. With every inhumanity you can also hear someone justifying their inhumanity and someone else promising more inhumanity in (justified or imagined) retribution and/or simply revenge.
Listening to stories of innocents caught in crossfires, knowing distance and lack of logistical and political where-withal make me only a toothless witness, I was tempted to withdraw from the world. To worry only about the people under my roof and to build my barricades.
Then I began painting a card for a loved who was sick and remembered a connection to them. I painted another I’ll send out to another friend who is down and remembered my connection to them. Then I painted another for a faceless person who might be suffering, remembering our connection to each other that the people who create the crossfires are trying to sever.
I painted more, knowing flowers won’t stop bullets or bombs, but I did know they will stop my apathy. They keep me from isolating my family from the world and surrendering to fear. And, if the only thing they do is make one person happy, that’s okay too (because, as Jimmie Durante would sing, it’ so important to make someone happy, and you will be happy too).
You can purchase Cards for Humanity at this page: Buy My Art. After thinking long and hard , I decided that helping is the best antidote to feeling helpless and decided that 10% of sales on that page will go to two causes I really care about: kids and community.
5% of all sales on my Buy My Art page are going to Save the Children to, you know, save the children, a group of people that, as a mom, I’m pretty sappy and passionate about.
The other 5% will go to support education at Hubbard Hall, a community art and theater center in Cambridge, NY. Why should you or anyone outside of a 10 mile radius care about Hubbard Hall? Because through their efforts to bring the arts to kids and grown ups of all ages, they have touched the lives of people around the country and the world. They are a model of how to build a vibrant community – something humanity could really use. As devout member of the ministry of encouragement, I support their mission of inclusiveness and nurturing the creative spark whole-heartedly.