Hit It And Hold

About two years ago, we were taking a walk down to the Middle Eastern Deli.  It’s on the corner of Eastern and Burton; not a terrible neighborhood but you still kind of want to keep your eyes open.  A man came up to us and looked a little sketchy so we just nodded and kept walking.  It turns out he was just trying to get signatures on a petition for a referendum vote; I forget now exactly what the issue was but it was something about the single business tax.  

We ended up having quite a chat with this man. We got onto the subject of keeping up with “The Issues”.  There are so many!  I think that nearly everyone wants the world to be a better place; whatever that means to them.  It gets overwhelming and frustrating to maintain a grasp on what needs to be done to make this world better.  What do you tackle? Children’s issues? Poverty? The environment? Job creation? Taxes?  And do you work on a local, state, national, or international level? 

This man, who we thought was going to ask us for spare change, instead gave us some very meaningful advice that helped us make a change in our lives.  He said, “I think if we all just kind of pick one or two things that we care about the most, and just, like, hit it and hold; things will get better.  Just hit it and hold, man”.

I thought this was profound.  Since that time, I have really tried to narrow down my key issues.  It has not been easy.  I want to do it all.  I want to be involved in everything, and volunteer here and donate there and march and protest and support and proclaim.  It forced me to respect other people who are working on other issues and accept nothing less than respect from them in return.  This man was absolutely correct; we are better off focusing the majority of our energy on a few things, than a tiny bit of our energy on many things.  This means letting many things go, but knowing that other folks are working just as hard on those other issues and as a whole – all working hard on a few things, it comes together as an improvement.

Feel free to leave a comment with what you have decided to hit and hold, or if you have a different viewpoint.  If you have been reading a while, you know that my key issues are hunger and early childhood.  This doesn’t mean I don’t care about other things; of course I do.  It just means that I am able to dig in deep, learn as much as I can, and try and be the most help in improving them. What are yours?

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2 Comments

Filed under Sanctuary Sunday

2 responses to “Hit It And Hold

  1. This is really great advice, and I agree… very difficult to follow.

    I’m a professional philanthropist; I work for nonprofits (lately here in Grand Rapids) trying to change the world. Some people say that people like us are idealists, but I say we’re realists. We see the problems, we become intimately acquainted with them, and using that knowledge, try to fix them.

    My hit & hold issues are definitely 1) technology literacy for everyone and 2) sustainability. It’s funny that I don’t get to focus on those for work, though. I volunteer for a environmental action group and do technology stuff in my free time, but that’s it. For my job, I do development stuff (grant writing and marketing and such). Some day I hope to combine my hit & hold issues with making a living, but I suspect it will be awhile. 🙂

  2. I think it is an awesome plan to “hit it and hold”. For one, I think that if a person does a million things at once, they can end up feeling frustrated because they are exhausted but still don’t feel like they made much progress on any one thing. Secondly, I think that it’s a better use of individual talents if you can maintain your focus on one thing because you can’t ever give 100% to everything at the same time. I laugh because your 2 hit and holds are about as broad as mine which are the environment and young people. I have a feeling I still might have to narrow mine down.

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