My Heart Will Not Sit Down

"In 1931, the city of New York received a gift of $3.77 to feed the hungry. It came from the African country of Cameroon."

So begins the author's note for the children's book My Heart Will Not Sit Down, written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Ann Tanksley.

An American missionary, most likely, had told the Africans about his country's great depression. The donation ultimately would not help much, but to those who sent it, $3.77 was a small fortune. Despite their own hardships, the villagers of Cameroon, touched deeply, gathered what they could and sent it on.

My heart will not sit down. What a marvelous phrase.

At the BuildaBridge Institute for Arts In Transformation last week, mealtime with fellow faculty members naturally saw conversations turning toward the reason we had all gathered: helping others.  

Kathryn Pannepacker, a brilliant textile artist whose weavings and murals brighten pockets of Philly everywhere you turn, mentioned that each time she comes to the Institute, she's challenged to do more. Other nodded in agreement. I added the thought that for me, the inclination to help travels in seasons--right now, I'm thankful to be able to teach others how to potentially change lives even while I'm unable to actively do so myself.

Not that I'm slacking too selfishly; my hands are in a few projects, and I'm starting a new venture. Remember the women from the homeless shelter? I'm going back in, but this time, for exercise. A group of the women trained to walk a 5K recently, and staff there want to build on their motivation to stay healthy.

This, too, is another season for me--fitness instead of theatre--but no matter: whatever I can offer to help, I will. Not all help need be an organized affair, I should add; taking the time to talk with my elderly neighbor up the street is just as important as spending an hour prepping an exercise class.

And your heart? Is it sitting, or standing?


  1. that IS a marvelous phrase! my heart is squatting lately i think. that sounds super gross. congrats on your new endeavor, i look forward to reading what you share here.


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