There is always a process that must occur in order to affect change. Whether we are changing ourselves for a better society or changing a fruit to make a tastier treat, we must follow a process of transformation. Each little action creates a ripple effect that eventually changes the whole. We can each be a part of that ripple effect and make an immediate impact on the small slice of the world around us. Perhaps that action can be as simple as inviting a neighbor over for a tasty treat like this Mango Freeze. While wearing a mask and socially distancing, of course!
The Gifts in Pandora’s Box: Transforming Hope into Action
Once upon a time, there was a mortal named Pandora. She was beautiful — that was one of her many gifts. In fact, that’s what Pandora means — Pan dora, all gold, all gifts. Zeus, ruler of all the gods, set her among the rest of mankind as a test case. He gave Pandora a box and told her to keep it safe and keep it sealed. You may remember how this goes.
As a biddable kid, I didn’t like Pandora. The first thing we learn about her is she’s entrusted with something, and what does she do? She disobeys. She opens the box. And wow, what a punishment. She unleashes grief, sickness, deceit, despair, and flavors of misery the world has never known before.
As we face Covid-19, systemic racism, and a nation in turmoil, Pandora doesn’t feel so much like an ancient Greek myth for kids. It feels like the tsunami of suffering we’re living right now.
If you recall, the myth ends with a little good news. After letting loose evil and affliction, Pandora claps the lid on the box just in time to keep hope from escaping. All kinds of agony has spread throughout the world, but there’s still hope.
That’s supposed to be enough? A little hope? Then what?
I can’t say I like Pandora any better now that I’m a grownup. But I went back and looked at different versions of the myth, including one they don’t teach children. Zeus had an agenda with Pandora. He gave her curiosity and then gave her something to be curious about. He knew she’d open the box and set free the wretchedness. Zeus wasn’t a bad guy. He did this for a reason. Mortals were already showing some design flaws. Zeus figured once they’d suffered, they’d straighten up. They didn’t. Humans, thought Zeus, they’ll never learn. So he prepared to drown them all. Well, that seems harsh.
But he forgot about hope. Hope is tougher than it looks. It made Pandora and all of mankind tougher, too, and ready to take on all the nasties raining down on them. Remember, Pandora means all gifts — the ones we like and the ones we don’t. Plague, hate, social inequity, tyranny? No, thank you. But they’re here, anyway. The gift comes from what this suffering can teach us. The gift is how we lift ourselves from despair, from anguish to hope, and transform hope into action.
Change takes more than hope, more than a #hashtag. Now is your chance to use your gifts:
Your voice. Talk to your family, your friends, your network about racism. Where do you see and hear it? Call it out in your workplace, your community, your family? In business? In media? In government?
Your ears. Listen to those speaking out. Some may never have had the opportunity before.
Your action. Become part of organizations working for positive change and social justice.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Civil Eats
- Food Solutions of New England’s Racial Equity Programming (How to use this site.)
- Food Tank
- Guitars Over Guns
- Soul Fire Farm
- Urban Oasis Project