It is no exaggeration to say that for the country, and for the planet, things have been horrid. We are experiencing the most brutal summer weather in eighteen years. There is a discernable human contribution to the inferno. Many countries are not only suffering with meteorological upheaval, but political and social upheaval as well. Bits of our past are revisiting us – we are seeing things that people who lived in those times hoped and prayed would never been seen again.
Trust and public confidence are at an all-time low. I am by no means a political creature, in part because I never know who I will enrage with my opinions, but it is undeniable that boundaries have been crossed. It takes little stretching of the imagination to fit social and political activity and the weather into the same category. We have an idea of what to expect, we know what is permissible, and we know when the line has been crossed. We are acutely familiar with the feelings of defeat and helplessness when the line has been crossed because it seems inevitable.
Boundaries of morality, of law, and of expectation have been violated.
It isn’t only the global affronts, but the personal ones that happen in our daily lives. People who will dismiss an idea because of the source. People who will taken a liberty because the relationship they have with an individual makes it ‘okay’. Personal boundaries are crossed constantly, and it is up to us to tolerate it. When people speak up, they are branded as malcontents or troublemakers and matters worsen.
I’m sure I sound angry, and I am angry. Other people are angry about a host of things, personal, national and global. We are angry about our feelings of impotence – what can we do to counter these incursions into our personal physical, emotional, and ideological space? We are angry because we have no real power to affect change.
If the eastern philosophers were right and we should always live in the moment, that would be devastating because it would mean that nothing changes. I am a person who has to set limits on my focus, so I break my day up into sections – breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner, etc. I focus only on that brief portion of the day. It prevents me from worrying too far in advance. However, it would be naïve to do everything that way. We have to look to the future, but we need to see things through a lens of positive possibilities: the potential for things to go right.
So long as there are people agitating for positive change, we can have hope. It took American women almost a century to get the right to vote – but they did get it. We find ways to cope with dangerous excesses in wind, heat, and rain, because things will change.
So long as there are people selflessly concerned about the state of things, there is a possibility for improvement. Compassion comes from hope, and hope is the beginning of all things good. It admits that this isn’t the end, and that every moment has that potential for new joys and new possibilities.
It takes only one tiny candle to fight back the darkness. This is how we send the devils back to hell!
Paul TN Chapman
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