I feel good about my kidney donation, more so than any other single contribution I’ve made. I feel happy that Leesa in the Bay Area is now living a full life due to York, and that Gloria here in Portland, Oregon, should soon receive her new kidney due to my give.
I suspect, though, that I’ve only made a dramatic contribution, not a deep one.
Deep contributions are better than dramatic contributions. Deep contributions create systemic change that reverberates outward to many people, and forward into the future. Dramatic contributions draw attention, but have much smaller impact.
John Haines has made a deep contribution in creating the Community Investment Trust, which lets people go from owing to owning here in Southeast Portland by investing in their communities. Colleen Kaleda has contributed deeply by building Community Project Ethiopia, which school and community center is transforming the lives of hundreds of people.
More broadly, if the current trial of Derek Chauvin results in a groundbreaking conviction of a white police officer for murdering an unarmed Black person, the deep contributions of thousands of activists against police brutality over many years will reach fruition. And such murders will hopefully grind to a halt.
Yet more broadly, when reparations are eventually made to the Native Americans and African Americans whose stolen land and labor are the basis of American wealth, it will be due to the deep contributions of many who worked against the tide for many decades, no, centuries.
Dramatic contributions are generally made by individuals, and are easier to understand than deep contributions, which might be led by individuals, but involve large groups of people pulling together over many years.
I suspect that some dramatic contributions may be small rivulets intended by God to feed into the larger rivers of deep contributions. I hope that my kidney donation may become that.