The events in Virginia on 12 August capped a horrifying week, beginning with threats of nuclear and ground war, international sabre-rattling, and now, rioting and murder in a college town, based entirely on bigotry and hatred. These events, in turn, have led to melodramatic rhetoric and grandstanding from politicians and celebrities, proclaiming ‘Now is the time for…’ Others urge us to respond with outrage.
Now is not the time, it has always been the time for whatever you were going to pontificate. When I hear ‘now is the time’, I believe what is actually being said is ‘it’s too late’. As for outrage–isn’t there enough already?
It would be really beneficial if people were to shut up instead of fanning all sorts of flames and making things worse. The majority of them are reacting to something they read (which may well have been made up by someone else who read something) and have not experienced themselves. People who cite damning statistics, blaming someone else, never cite their sources (because wishful thinking is not the same as actual evidence).
These events and these inciting speeches have also led to pervasive fear, panic, and despair, affecting many. I am hundreds of miles from Charlottesville VA, but yesterday afternoon, I was afraid. Reading social media (which only fed my fear) showed that I was not alone. With everything that has transpired since the beginning of the week, I am feeling despair, as are many others.
Despair: a state of being filled with hopelessness, helplessness, and terror. Each time is like the first time, and one forgets everything one has learnt.
What I hope you will take away from my article is this: if you’ve come this far, however frightened you have felt, you have survived–you must have in order to be here and now. No matter how dark things seem, no matter how dismal and hopeless things appear to you now, you are in a tunnel, not a cave. There was a way in, and there will be a way out. Find just one thing to focus on–your new puppy, pleasant music, a favourite food–anything that is a glimmer of light, and hold on to it.
You will get through this. You will survive. Hold onto your light!
‘Do not fight to expel the darkness from the chamber of your soul. Open a tiny aperture for light to enter, and the darkness will disappear.’
–Saint Porphyrius ,Bishop and Confessor.
Paul TN Chapman
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