In her book, The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion said, “You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.” It has been more than a few years since I read that line and, still, it sticks with me. In very few words, Ms. Didion implies the importance of values like commitment, conviction, integrity, and faith; values, I think, many of us struggle to cultivate and/or live into fully. Barring anything truly unsafe or unhealthy, I take the line to mean that it’s important to fight for something (or someone) you believe in; to want something badly enough that you actively choose to do what is inconvenient and uncertain in hopes that short-term investments (and possibly sacrifices) make way for longer term gains. To do this well takes consciousness, maturity, and a deep knowing that no matter the outcome, the marrow is in showing up.
We’ve all seen and heard stories of triumph that have moved us to tears, filled us with hope, and brought us up out of our seat to cheer. It’s a thrill to witness something that incites admiration, awe, and love. That happened for me this month and, in the spirit of celebrating what it means to “show up” and fight for something, I feel compelled to share it here. The link below is a 9 minute video clip of Jon Stewart sitting before Congress, advocating for the victims of 9/11, asking for the reauthorization of the 9/11 Compensation Fund:
I had the good fortune of being an intern on “The Daily Show” the same year Jon Stewart became its host. I didn’t have much, if any, direct interaction with him, but I made sure there were bagels at the morning meeting(!) and props at-the-ready for whatever shenanigans were scheduled for the day. It was a fun job and Mr. Stewart seemed to be as likable a man off screen as he was on. I was proud to work for him then and even prouder now. May we all have the courage to speak our highest truth, the passion to fuel it, and grace to guide it home.