When I’m in online events with Ukrainians who are in Ukraine, I always notice that, far from draining one’s energy, they give energy. I don’t understand how it happens but it does.
Yesterday, for instance, I started the day with a long, painful Zoom meeting with a colleague who is experiencing an imaginary oppression and several administrators who refuse to see said colleague as oppressed. This was very energy-draining. Then I had two more very depleting conversations with people on campus. Nothing major but it’s the kind of conversations that leave you eager not to talk or do much of anything for the rest of the day. I was completely beat.
And then at 6 pm I was in a Zoom event with a guy in Ukraine who goes into the heavily affected areas to find children in need of psychological rehabilitation. Not the happiest activity in the world. When the event started, it was 2 am in Ukraine. But somehow, at the end of a long, extremely hot and probably very grueling day, the Ukrainian guy had such luminous energy coming off him that it completely recharged me. When the event ended, I felt as if it were 9 am again, and I was fresh and ready to start the day.
The guy wasn’t a victim. He was a person with a quiet, self-sufficient certainty of purpose.