Fractals are amazing. They represent a core concept in nature. They summarize all that is complex and poetic about life and the world we live. From the whole are the pieces and from the pieces is the whole.
The concept of fractals struck me today. We have a small neighborhood restaurant just down the block from our home in Portland. The restaurant wasn't open for more than 2 months when the pandemic hit. Within a matter of days, the windows were papered, their neon sign shut off, and an announcement was prominently placed on the front door - "Closed by order of the Governor. We'll be back. Until then, follow-us on Instagram." Just like that - a single handwritten sign brought to an end what was assuredly months of preparation and a lifetime of savings.
The more I got to thinking about our neighborhood restaurant - the more I realized that same story is repeating itself over and over again all around the world. In the last week alone we've heard from a small rehab hospital in a rural part of Cusco that is struggling, a program in Zambia straining to best respond to the pandemic, a feeding program in Alto Cayma remaking itself to deliver food and supplies to people living in extreme poverty, a physician at a major public hospital who is desperate for face-masks and PPE, and the many university groups who've canceled their trips. In every part of this magnificent planet, businesses are closing, dreams are getting diverted, and lives are forever changing. It feels a little overwhelming.
But then I remember - the lesson of fractals . . . from the pieces come the whole. Within everything is a pattern. All the shuttered businesses, all the broken dreams, all the shattered bank accounts - behind every one of them is a person. And people are what matter most.
Things are devastatingly challenging for so many right now - and, the bridges we create will be the healing the world needs. So where do we begin? One thing HBI has done really well is create connections. Our work is about pulling the pieces together. And I guess what I am most realizing from the pandemic is this - the bridges we are best at building in the world . . . they're people connecting to people.
Fractals are created by repeating a simple process over and over. This is the process of creating connections. Our relationships, the connections we have, the partnerships we've assembled - these are the bridges that will help to heal the world . . . and we're only just getting started.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.