What Is Enough?

“To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step.
We will fail when we fail to try.” 
 —Rosa Parks

I've Been Thinking...

I’ve found myself thinking quite a bit lately about the idea of “enough.” What is enough? When do you know you’ve had enough? When do you finally feel that you are enough? When is enough enough?

I’ve thought to myself, have we as a country finally seen enough gun violence to actually do something about it, or does more have to happen? Have we seen enough about mental health to declare it a national emergency? What about climate change? Have we experienced enough racism, sexism, and ageism to say we’ve had enough, or do we need to experience more for things to finally change?

Is a man seen kneeling on another man's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds enough to enrage you and push you to want deep, systemic change? Is it enough to push you to become active and fight for that change in our society and in our world? If so, will you now vote differently? Talk differently? Spend your money differently? See the world through different eyes? How will your actions signal that you’ve had enough?

As I watched the events of this past week, it made me reflect back on the times in my own life when I finally came to the conclusion, “Okay, that’s enough.” Reaching that moment is a deeply personal one for each of us, and it can take some of us way longer than we ever could have imagined or care to admit.

Anyone who has parented can recall moments when our kids have perhaps pushed us to that moment. I know I can. Many of us can recall feeling that way in a relationship, in a job, or in different kinds of situations. It’s scary to stand on the precipice of saying, "I’m not going to accept that anymore. I’ve had enough.” It can be an equally awe-inspiring moment when a person finally realizes they accept and respect themselves enough to act from that place. 

What I’ve come to learn is that it’s hard to stand in that place of change unless there is a fundamental sense of righteousness, anger, or self-worth beneath it to hold it steady. If you feel you are enough on your own, you will make different decisions in your life. If you feel others are also cut from the same “bouquet of humanity,” you will make different decisions. If you know deep in your heart that social media likes will never make you feel like enough, or that superficial fame and fancy toys will never truly fulfill you, then you will move differently through your life. You just will.

Knowing when you are enough dictates how you feel about "enough" in our public square. In my conversation with Van Jones this week, I was struck by his sentiment that in order for us to move forward, we have "to need one another.” Like, really need one another.

So many people have told me about their need to be needed. So in this week when so many have experienced this notion that they’ve had enough with the ways things are, may we look ahead with an eye towards our collective future. We need one another to get there. I need you and, yes, you need me. I need you to see me, and I need to see you. Let’s open our eyes.

I need to see what you've been through. I need to see beyond the color of your skin or the judgments in my head about you. I need to want to receive that same kind of treatment and respect from you.

I’ve had enough of the old way of living and working (see what Greg McKeown has to say about that below). I know you probably have, too. I’ve had enough of the violence in our streets, in our schools, in our places of business, in our neighborhoods... everywhere. I’ve had enough of political leaders who are too scared to vote for what’s right. I feel we’ve all had enough of the way things are, in one way or another.

The truth is people are scared to go out of their homes. They are scared to talk in our public spaces, scared to say anything. They are scared to act. They are scared of what will happen if they do. It’s enough.

We all can imagine something better, and it will take all of us to get there. I need you, and you need me. Let’s start needing one another more. The opposite is no longer tenable.


PRAYER OF THE WEEK                                                                           

Dear God, may we never forget that we need each other if we are truly going to move humanity forward. I need you, and you need me. We need to see each other, respect each other, and love each other for change to finally happen. Amen.

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