When the ship is sinking, do you bail — or sing?

You know the story, right?

When the ocean liner the Titanic hit an iceberg and started going under, obvious panic broke out.

Some passengers shoved into lifeboats, some tried to swim for it. Some of the crew went to work trying to fix the hole in the ship, some simply passed out. But the orchestra that was playing in the ship’s ballroom decided, even in the face of inevitable doom, to keep playing.

I imagine the orchestra members and their lovely wave of music being swallowed — in one achingly slow, languid gulp — by the frigid ocean.

And it makes me think about the work so many of us are called to do, the change so many of us are called to make.

Working for gender parity or basic empowerment in a world that still thinks that women are inferior. Working to halve mass incarceration or eliminate “redlining” practices in a world that still thinks people of color are dangerous. Working to reduce emissions or keep the EPA in place in a world that still thinks climate change is debatable.

The work we do, we care about deeply. And the work we do, often feels futile.

At times, it can feel like we are right where we need to be, doing the great work we were put here on this earth to do.

At times, it can feel like a sinking ship.

When it feels like we’re all going down anyway so why even bother, what do we do?

Do we, like the crew of the Titanic, double down on our work and bail water out of the boat like our lives depend on it? Or do we, like the orchestra of the Titanic, ignore the inevitable and keep singing our beautiful music even as we leave this life?

To this miserable question that each of us faces daily, I answer: Both.

Bail and sing, my friend. Bail and sing.

The Feminine Genius in each of us is like the flautist or tuba player on the foundering Titanic, determined to sing — to use every last breath to bring beauty and meaning to the world.

The Masculine Genius is each of us is like the earnest crew, fixing holes, bailing water, and helping freezing folks into little lifeboats.

The Masculine Genius in each of us fixes, reasons, thinks, competes, and makes plans.

The Feminine Genius in each of us beautifies, intuits, feels, connects, and makes meaning. Sure, there’s a time to save our singing breath for the hard work of bailing.

But even as humanity joy rides at 110 miles an hour toward a cliff without breaks, we can also …

… take the time to feel the morning sunshine on our faces.

Read a poem aloud to the houseplants.

Savor our morning cup of simple black tea.

Sing along with the radio even though we need Autotune.

Cry at commercials. And at weddings. And at funerals.

Allow ourselves to love so much it stretches our hearts.

Wear too much dark eyeliner, too tight leather pants, and a flower behind our ears.

Dance while doing the dishes.

And as we do, the Feminine Genius is all of us straddles the bow of the ship, wind in her hair, smiling.

Come over to the discussion, and please tell us one of your fav ways to sing some meaning back into this world.

Bail and sing, my friend, bail and sing,