There is much that needs mending. There are signs that our society is unwell, with polarization and anger sizzling under the surface of our discourse. The problems of the world feel big and overwhelming. And we can look to big things to rescue us: national elections, a revolution, widespread revival, the apocalypse. Of course, big things matter. Voting and federal policies are important. Yet most of us, in our limited spheres, must learn to embrace small practices of repair. These practices, though small, are profoundly significant. They are the tiny threads that weave a society where, as Dorothy Day said, it is easier for people to be good.
I’d like to offer a short, certainly not complete, list of small, ordinary ways to practice repair:
- Have more in-person conversations.
- Get outside.
- Eschew mobs — online and in real life.
- Read books.
- Give money away.
- Invest in institutions more than personal brands.
- Invest in children.
- Observe the Sabbath.
- Make a steel man of others’ arguments.
- Practice patience.