Ever heard the statistic that Democrats tend to put their toilet paper with the roll coming from the bottom, and Republicans tend to put their toilet paper with the roll coming from the top? What about the house with a toddler who unrolls it all so the toilet paper doesn't even go on the holder? What are they? Whatever they are, that's what we are.
There are so many things we are waiting on as a country, right? The upcoming election, a ninth Supreme Court justice, this season's winner of The Voice. Every day we have to wait is another day for some really bizarre headlines, some really intense debate on who can better serve our country, and some really great performances from singers who are working their tails off to be the next Beyoncé or Ed Sheerin.
I think it's important to remember that no matter what happens in the coming months, the men and women sitting in the Oval Office, on the most powerful policy-forming benches in the world, or the stages of our nation's amphitheaters, do not control us. We, as people with our own individual minds, individual ideas, individual souls, have great power within. And it is up to US, not our politicians or our celebrities, to walk in such a way that we don't let the darkness win.
Sure, politicians' and celebrities' voices tend to be much louder and much more powerful in the overarching narrative of our great nation than laypeople like me. And there's corruption so deeply embedded in our political system it makes economic policy seem like the ABCs. But in our little corner of the world, when we're dealing with each other and caring for our family, ourselves, and our communities, that can't matter. We have to do what we can with what we have exactly where we are. We can go vote and we can work to change things by advocating and lobbying, but we can also:
Speak life into our friends and family.
Help an elderly patron reach something on the top shelf.
Bring a depressed friend a bouquet of flowers.
Bring a coffee to the soldier manning the gate at 0530.
Leave a pick-me-up for a co-worker.
If these acts seem too simplistic to change the world, I'll remind you of an old saying:
If you don't think a small thing can make a difference,
try sleeping with a mosquito in the tent.
On a grand scale, changing the way we treat each other, listening to each other, trusting the best in each other instead of assuming the worst of each other, committing to our marriages, lifting each other up in prayer, encouraging a child to be brave, these are the things that will make the next generation rise up to be better than we are.
Someday my toilet paper will go back on the roll, when my daughter is more mature and can handle the temptation of unraveling the entire roll at once. But the direction it will roll off will not matter, our political affiliation will not matter. That stuff will always exist, there will always be a time and place for democracy and ideas and debates. But, how I've treated others in between now and then, the change I've forced into the world around me and beyond, that's what will matter the most.