“Querida Sra. Eva,

Gracias por ayudarme a pagar mi renta. Sinceramente, la familia Garcia.” [Thank you for helping us pay the rent. Fictional name.]

Another: “con esa puedo pagar el gas.” {with this I can pay the gas.}

Another: “With this I was able to send money home after my mother died of the virus.”

And the end: Con de todo corazon. With all my heart.

I stopped at the post office today and picked up some checks that came in. One was for $1,200, one was for $5., another for $15. I am thrilled with all of them. Please understand that when it comes to kindness, nothing is too small. Or as my Zen grandfather used to say, “Small is not small.” No one can possibly know the full extent of kindness and generosity.

By the end of this week I will have spent some $700 on sewing machines for women sewing masks and other articles to make money for their families. That’s in addition to cash to help pay rent/utilities and $750 each week in supermarket goods.

We help one woman, she takes care of her family, they help other families (immigrant families help each other a lot), her children go to school, and the benefit multiplies and multiplies. My Bachelor’s Degree is in economics, believe it or not, so I know that money has a multiplier effect. Compassion’s multiplier effect is way bigger.

I’ve had some dour thoughts lately. There’s a consensus that covid will be with us for some time, which doesn’t prevent the stock market from booming. Meanwhile, Fujitsu, the giant Japanese tech company, announced that it will let its 80,000 workers work from home and halve its office space, all within 3 years, to facilitate a “new normal” for its employees. This is not good news for commercial real estate, and while it may sound nice for its employees, I don’t believe it.

I believe that human employment is on its way down. There has been a lot of talk over the past decade about Artificial Intelligence and how it will take over the production as well as service sectors. It was seen as something in the future. Well, the future is now.

If you were a corporate CEO and read what we’re all reading about covid and such viruses, arising from animal-to-human transmission (there are potentially thousands of these), what would you invest in, people who get sick, or robots and machines who don’t?

There isn’t a company in sight that won’t be thinking this way: Office or home? Medical insurance? Maternal leave? Medical leave? Sick pay, pensions, paid holidays? And now, to top it off, covid? Who needs all this!

AI becomes the solution of choice. The more the covid, the higher the value of AI and the lower the value of human workers. Which means that the future is now. Not in the time of your grandchildren, not even in the time of your children, but in your time and mine.

Add to that scientists’ declarations that climate change is moving a lot faster than originally predicted. Change is happening at warp speed, making human beings seem weak, unable to cope, and expendable.

What will we do without jobs? The stock market will continue to boom even as people lose work opportunities. Some talk of a minimum income, but what will happen to us without work? What will happen to our self-esteem, to our identification, to our value in our families and society?

“Men were taught to be warriors,” Manny Iron Hawk was saying about the old Lakota ways. But what has happened to the Lakota men when the old warrior ways are no longer needed by their society? What is already beginning to happen to non-Native men, who have watched jobs leave the country and will see so many more given to robots, their roles as “breadwinners” gone? Look at the rise in addictions to drugs and alcohol, the increase in domestic violence.

Women will be the first to lose their jobs because they always do. But they could continue to have babies and raise children, be the backbone of the family, do whatever is needed to keep the home going, keeping their eyes on the prize. But they, too, will suffer.

This isn’t about Trump, it’s about losing our way. We’ve been losing it for a long time, under both Republican and Democratic political administrations.

So, what am I going to do? Don’t know about you, but I’m not running for any hills, certainly not taking shelter in hefty savings accounts.

Thoreau wrote: “The melancholy man who had come forth to commit suicide on this hill might be saved by being thus reminded how many brave and contented lives are lived between him and the horizon.”

All around me are brave and contented lives. I see the critters running into the tree hollow, the dogs sleeping off the summer afternoons, and I see a beautiful young girl color-coordinated, a princess T-shirt, matching sandals, and eyes that can conquer the world if given half the chance.

Don’t tell me she isn’t worth being fed, housed, nourished, schooled, sheltered, and inspired. Don’t tell me her mask isn’t fabulous, a testament to how hardworking mothers still insist on bringing beauty into difficult daily lives. There is curiosity in those eyes, there is hope and joy. There is vision.

I don’t rate in comparison. My masks aren’t nearly that pretty and my clothes tend towards bland. But I have other things: food cards, sewing machines, cash, checks to be deposited. I have this blog to put out the word again and again, find another way to say the same thing again and again: Small isn’t small.

There are times when I wish I was more like Bernie. I think to myself that he would have started companies and not-for-profits to help people out, he would have looked at all the enormous empty mills lying on the banks of the Connecticut River with stars in his eyes and plans whirling in his head.

I’m not Bernie, but I can be kind, and that’s enough right now. There’s nothing small about kindness.

If you’d like to donate to help immigrant families with food and other basic needs, please use the Donate button below, and make sure to write on the Note: Food cards. Or else, send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351, and note on the memo line: For food cards.

Muchas gracias.