An essay of hopelessness and anger, and a reminder of what we should work toward in the darkest moments…

The world gets so heavy sometimes, like a four-ton truck being lifted by a baby; the violence, the guns, the brainwashing of young minds not for good but for nefarious benefit, the hatred, the anger, the lies, the winning-at-all-costs belief that a system will pay out just to you; I’ve read Eve Ensler’s book In the Body of the World: A Memoir of Cancer, where she describes her cancer arising from the heavy emotional toll of seeing and witnessing the ravages of Congoese men on women, specifically in the form of violent sexual aggression, much of it with the intent of destroying their uteruses. Her life’s work has to been to provide safety and medical care to the victims.  I’ve read A Long Way gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier, by Ismael Beah, an orphan whose only means of survival in west Africa was to the join a military group that fought all other military groups, it’s youth were the pawns and the fodder. They were provided drugs to make killing ok, servicing adult men do-able, live with themselves and their actions just a bit livable. I think of the gun violence that men in this country (and women) are absolutely ok with because without it, “‘they’ might take away our guns!”

Again, children as pawns and fodder.

How dare we hold our heads up, as Americans, when we are willing to turn the other way because someone else’s loss of rights and dignities might be an omen for ours. How dare we believe ourselves to be the upholders of truth when we allow the brutalization of others to exist, in our own communities and families, without speaking out. When did we become such cowards? When did we become so weak? We’ve dropped the morals we declare our ancestors of possessing, within a few generations.

I’m getting older. I feel it, mainly in my bones as my inability to accept the world we’ve been in a process of creating for so many generations it’s hard to count. But am at the tail end of a generation that truly fought for a better world, a just world, a clean world, and that generation who led the fight are aging and dying. Who is going to take their place? Who is caring enough, not frightened of repercussions, strong enough to push forward those goals? Now. Before we as a human species are totally gone, extinct, poof? Who is going to argue and protest and demand a world within which their children will grow, will thrive? Not just survive.

I have a friend; we talk about the horrors. Because they keep me awake at night, sometimes. I look at my granddaughter and tears of overwhelming love come to my eyes. I look at my puppy, and a similar thing happens. I look at my husband, my beautiful family, my gorgeous, passionate, socially involved friends and my heart swells. But it’s like living in an apartment, all of us sharing this same space. Outside, beyond the stoop is a world that scares the shit outta me. And we, these generations living right now, are feeding that beast, and thinking it will go away.

We, as a society, care more about our money than the person who lost their job, lost everything (and didn’t have much to begin with). We grumble about their tent cities, their anger, their lack of bodily care, their inability to deal with a world that would place them in the barrow ditch of society and walk away.  We care more about giving endless money to lying politicians who promise us a profane future instead of sowing that money ourselves into a world we actively want our children and grandchildren to live in, grow up in, thrive in; not merely survive. We prop up religions that damn us to hell for finding love; we give them money to steal people’s babies (read The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce) and give them to someone else (for a price); to hide their violent men in other cities, rural communities or other countries; or to hide them within their own walls surrounded by rites and rituals that make them untouchable.

Shame on us for being so scared and so weak to speak truth to such power. To believe such lies, to be prepared to lose our innocence in our search for wealth.

But, such life of awareness does require balance. And mine comes from the beautiful, deep and thought-provoking writings of women who work to actively see the beauty around us. They don’t advocate magical thinking; they advocate spots of beauty as gardens to grow more such spaces.

Today, my bright moment of hope comes from Sasha Sagan’s book For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in our Unlikely World. Sasha is Carl Sagan‘s daughter.

“My parents taught me that universe is enormous and we humans are tiny beings who get to live on an out-of-the-way planet for the blink of an eye. And they taught me that, as they once wrote, “for small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”

I would like to add empathy, compassion, and kindness to that. Perhaps they are the particles, the molecules that create love, the foundational building blocks of a structure that changes our world.

Yes, the world can be a dark place, but we created that darkness.

It can be a place of light, but we need to create that light.

Your job today: find one small, hidden, thing that, upon seeing it, brings such joy as to be nearly overwhelming. And let your mind sit with that discovery.

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