When I grow up, I want to be Liz Ray.
Liz is an artist. She created the pen-and-ink piece around which I organized my office, an homage to women working together in the epic battle at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Liz created it at the request of my husband and son for Mother’s Day. (My son asked that Wonder Woman be added, despite the fact she comes from a different universe.)
Liz is also the manager of The Comic Strip, a store in Tuscaloosa that sells (or can order!) any superhero merchandise you could ever want. I love to go in and look at the vintage comic book covers and eerily lifelike Batman statues. Liz organizes several special events at The Comic Strip each year. They are opportunities for customers to cosplay and for local artists to sell their work. There are drawings for prizes, free merch, and costume contests. These occasions are loads of fun for people who shop at The Comic Strip regularly and for those who are dropping in for the first time. Almost always the store and the artists donate a percentage of their sales to a local organization. On the annual Wonder Woman Day, for example, the designated recipient is a program that helps survivors of domestic violence.
And that’s the reason I want to be Liz. She fully uses her platforms – her art and her position at The Comic Strip – to put good into the world. She helps create a community where people are welcomed as they are. She showcases the talents of artists who birth beauty and spark the imaginations of beholders. She raises awareness about needs in the community. And she invites people to join her in supporting those causes.
Each one of us, individually and/or collectively, has at least one platform that can be used to push more good out into a world that desperately needs it. It might be a one-on-one relationship, an Instagram or Twitter stream with a lot of followers, an informal leadership position, a captive audience, wealth, or a title. It could be a committee we’re on, a business we work at or own, a congregation we’re part of, or a print or online publication we contribute to. It could even be a chance encounter with someone we’ll never see again. The size of the platform doesn’t matter. What we do with it does.
Think about all the areas of your personal and professional lives where you have influence. It doesn’t have to be official authority. It could be as minute as the mood you bring to your place of work, because that is catching among co-workers. How are you currently using those platforms to usher in more love, more peace? Where would you like to make adjustments so that you can create more openness and hope?
I’m mulling this too. After all, I want to be like Liz.