Mighty Mite: Type-A and Isolation

Anna cleaning up her community

Growing up, my Mom liked to call me “Mighty Mite.” I’ve always been short and have energy that is sometimes difficult to contain. I’m the definition of an A-type personality, and checking things off my to-do list brings me deep satisfaction. When I really need a boost, I add things to the list after they are done, just so I can have the joy of checking them off. Anyone else guilty of that?

COVID isolation was a busy person’s nightmare. I was always on the go, so the pandemic felt like I ran into a brick wall. I was stuck. I just couldn’t figure out how to adjust to a slower pace of life. I had to work to feel comfortable with the isolation. I had to figure out how to find my joy and purpose from an inward source, rather than that external checklist. I even bought a journal! I am not a journaler.

Comfort Vs. Chaos

After a few months (yes, it really did take that long), I finally pushed through that uncomfortable state and got to a place of peace with a home-based life. I knew that I had what I needed. What a comfort, right? But when I looked outward to my community, state, and world, I didn’t see comfort and peace. Instead, the pause in the daily grind revealed a broken world and cracks in my community that were widening and engulfing my neighbors in challenge after challenge.

If you can get to the point in life where your joy meets the needs of your neighbors, that’s where fulfillment happens. Click To Tweet

Like many of us, I started going online and checking the COVID case numbers daily. Through news outlets and social media channels, I saw so much chaos in the world. I kept wishing that I could share some of the peace I had found, and bring comfort to the chaos. It was in this moment that I realized that I was needed in a way I didn’t see before. I felt called to help calm the chaos. So I got to work. I started with finding my passions—food insecurity, access to quality healthcare, and sustainability.

Finding joy through helping my community

Following the abrupt forced stop of the pandemic, I decided to use the Marie Kondo approach to life. Did the activity bring me joy? If yes, then keep it! The rest got discarded. Doing that over and over helped me find a way to add back in volunteer activities that also brought me joy. I discovered that listening and connecting with people was what filled me up. Without the shadow of pre-COVID commitments, I was able to clearly assess what I wanted on my plate.

I started to see how my voice could help amplify the needs of my community. There were voices all around me that weren’t being heard.

After seeing food insecurity rates spike during the pandemic, I got my hands dirty and helped start a good news community garden at my church. The food we planted made its way to our local library to be given away to those who needed it. I learned how to assist people with the lengthy Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications. Answering the call for help gave me a newfound energy that was satisfying beyond measure.

 

Bringing joy and hope to vulnerable communities

Anna rallying to protect Arkansas students and kids

I used my broken Spanish skills and volunteered at vaccine shot clinics that were designed to reach an underserved population. Working to make healthcare more accessible for the most vulnerable in our community gave me hope.

I started to see how my voice could help amplify the needs of my community. There were voices all around me that weren’t being heard. That lead me to working with Fight Forward and the League of Women Voters. I learned how to register voters so they could make their own voice heard.

I joined the Little Rock Sustainability Commission because I wanted to show my children that I would fight to ensure for them a beautiful and livable world.

Being plugged into the needs of my community filled me up in a way that I hadn’t felt before. If you can get to the point in life where your joy meets the needs of your neighbors, that’s where fulfillment happens.

My priest ends her services with the following prayer. It always gets my heart pumping with that exciting feeling of being a doer in the world.

May God Give You the Grace not to Sell Yourself Short, 

Grace to Risk Something Big For Something Good, 

Grace to Remember that The World is Now Too Dangerous for Anything but Truth, and Too Small for Anything but Love.

So May God Take Your Minds and Think Through Them; 

May God Take Your Lips and Speak Through Them; 

and May God Take Your Hearts and Set Them On Fire.

That prayer is based on a quote from William Sloane Coffin.

I hope we all find what sets our hearts on fire and moves us into further connection with the great needs of our times.

Anna and her kids

 

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