Thinking of Others
Phil's Gratitude DIary
April 24, 2020
In times of uncertainty, it is only natural to look inward, especially when so much outside distraction has become unavailable. But in my phone calls this week, the conversations with donors have expanded to include the consideration of others.
One donor shared with me, “For us, the library is a cherished resource, but it’s not an essential one. We have access to the internet; we have a safe place to be during the day; we have other ways of occupying and entertaining ourselves. But there are thousands—thousands—of people that rely on the library for those things. For them, the library is essential.”
Another donor told me she’s able to buy as many books as her heart desires but was so thrilled to hear that people without her resources are now able to get books curbside. Innovation and commitment to service are why she supports the library.
What has me smiling this afternoon is how naturally our donors imagine the impact of the current crisis on others, and how they feel grateful for their own circumstances, as challenging as they might be. This is exactly what turns “community” from a nice word into a nurturing reality: empathy for others and the understanding that the only way we move forward is together.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that this theme emerged in my conversations again and again. After all, people who support their libraries do so because they know the value it brings to not only their lives but to the lives of everyone around them. Beyond washing our hands, staying home, and keeping our distance, it can sometimes feel like the ways we are able to respond to this crisis are limited. But in going beyond in the ways open to us—thinking of others, giving what we can, supporting in ways both big and small—we can, all of us, step up to the challenge of the times and come out stronger.