To ALL The Kind Hearts Of The World

If there is a singular piece of art that influenced my character as a child, it’s this poem by Martin Niemoller….

First they came for the Socialists
and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a socialist
Then they came for the Trade Unionists
and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist
Then they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me–
And there was no one left to speak for me

As I work to pick myself up off the floor and embrace the realities of our American Democracy, I find that with every few steps I take down the challenging but necessary road of acceptance, these words are lurking behind every corner that I turn, making me question my every outlook.

This poem was my identity as a young Jewish girl in Texas. It was the lesson and reminder that above all things that I am to be in this world, I will be a person who defends the vulnerable and never ever looks the other way.

So where does that undeniable characteristic leave me in this moment in history?

Am I to fight?
Get angry?
Challenge and boycott our democracy because I don’t like the outcome?
Make friends and family who are celebrating what they think is the answer to their struggles feel bad?

No…

So am I to stay positive?
Get on board?
Suck it up and move past it?

But what about Martin’s words?? The words that built me?  Am I a hypocrite? Is acceptance “looking the other way”?

…and around and around I go…

The reality is, there is no right way to do this. For anyone. We are all shaken; questioning our judgment; our personal needs versus those of our nation and world. I know this because the people in my life and community are good and this isn’t a simple situation for anyone with a conscience. No matter what ‘side’  you should find yourself on right now, I know in my gut that when push comes to shove, you will choose compassion and empathy no matter the affiliation.

I’m going to allow myself to lead with that and work on quieting the clutter. I truly believe that it’s our diversity that makes this country such a uniquely beautiful place, so as we move forward, let’s all work together to be kind, compassionate, open-minded and open-hearted, especially to those we do not fully understand.

I want to share with you one last thought that I scribbled down in my journal a few weeks ago…

I don’t watch the news or stay as informed as I should.
I don’t join in on political rallies and activism makes me weary.
Many times I think that both sides of the coin are too correct to choose.
I kick myself for these characteristics constantly.
But here is what I do provide for humanity–
I am the change that I wish to see. I live the free and ambitious life that this country was built upon and try my damnedest to hurt no one on my way up.
I approach every stranger with compassion and respect.
I believe everyone’s perspective makes sense to their circumstances and therefore, empathize deeply even if I don’t agree.
This is my contribution to the world that we live in. It might not do much today, but maybe it does enough for the next person to follow suit in their own way and collectively THAT could make a difference.

-Jackie Pock Gibbons-

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