Kind promise: I will advocate courageously.

When I was growing up, my family had a cabin on a small lake in Wisconsin. Sometimes, my dad would take us out on the lake in a motorboat. He would attach a secondhand motor to our somewhat leaky 12 foot, wooden rowboat. Dad would wind a cord around the top of the motor, adjust the choke, and pull hard on the wooden handle. BRRR…CK…CK…CK. BRRR…CK…CK…CK. BRRR…CK…CK…CK. (Grumble grumble) BRRR…CK…CK…CK. BRRR…CK…CK…CK. Eventually the motor would catch and we would putter around the lake.

The process of writing last week’s post was like my dad starting that old boat motor. I kept pulling the starter cord on a brain set for “advocacy” and getting BRRR…CK…CK…CK. BRRR…CK…CK…CK. I was caught, thinking “I can barely move. What kind of advocate can I be?”

To move me from that place of paralysis, here are some things to believe:

Belief #1: I am not alone. Begin by understanding that, “I am involved in mankind.” Last week, the motor wouldn’t start for quite some time because I was focusing on my own dark (at the time) story. I couldn’t lift my head out of my own suffering long enough to see the other people in the world. Advocacy became a possibility only when I looked outside of myself.

Belief #2: I can make a difference. Okay, so I’m not the only one suffering. By itself, this thought may invite more dark thoughts. My dad may not have been good at starting a motor, but my parents were great at demonstrating that individuals and small groups of people can change the world. They gave money to charities, took action to help people and fight injustices and lived ethical lives.

Belief #3: I am enough. This promise doesn’t require me to move mountains. It asks me to live into these beliefs and to do what I can. The “courage” part of the promise may not be about taking big action. Instead, it may be courageous to believe that my small actions are enough.