This beautiful passage comes from Kimberly Miller’s amazing essay, “Professional Detachment is Over-rated: Lessons in Resilience.” You should read the rest of it. You should. Get it here.
If we are engaged and empathetic, we can use our unique knowledge of urban and environmental systems to rebuild their communities and help them become resilient, while also embodying their deepest values. When we take a hand in digging out from the rubble, we can contribute to rebuilding while helping the community lay a new path, a brick at a time.
When we can build empathy into even routine work, it allows us to break down the unwieldy obstacles that arise from grief, strong beliefs and misunderstandings. Our professional skills, applied with an open heart and personal commitment, can help us mold the world in ways that ease the impacts of catastrophic events.
New York City, New Orleans and Biloxi, Mississippi will never be the places they were before the tragedies that befell them. But because of the work that you and I, and other compassionate people from around the world do, they are being renewed, and they are becoming ever more resilient to the changing world around them.
Remember that when you start to wonder why your work matters.