I am tired…aren’t you? I am tired of the lack of compassion, the preponderance of fear, and inability of many people to actually consider a differing point of view as valid. On Facebook, people are color-filtering their profile pictures in allegiance to France, others are complaining that not all tragedies are given an equal voice and others are unfriending people because they don’t agree with each other. Criminy sakes, children are drowning and we are focused on the filter colors of our profile pictures!
Still, I am having a hard time formulating an opinion on any one of the thousand and one crises that seem to be prevalent in the media. My heart beats with compassion and outreach, yet my head is flying the red flag of caution and safety first.
Yes, I know that countries that place security above liberty deserve neither. And even though this is a poor interpretation of a Ben Franklin quote, I believe that there is truth in the statement. And yet, I cannot help but feel that there has to be a place between security and compassion that we, as a nation, can operate from. Unfortunately, with all of the media noise, it is difficult to get a moment of silence to think about what my answer truly may be. Or even to decide where my beliefs reside.
I am moved to tears by pictures of drowned babies AND my stomach churns with uncertainty when I consider what my stance is regarding whether or not to let the refugees onto our shores. I want to provide safe harbor for displaced families AND I am concerned about the safety of our citizens as they prepare for the biggest travel days of the year.
I do not know how to be RIGHT with all of my internal conflict much less all that is going on around me. The Dalai Lama reminds us that God is not going to fix this. Prayer alone won’t fix this. WE created this mess and WE must fix it. Human action, in the form of government leadership, decisiveness, and collaboration can help us move in the right direction. But our leaders, coming together to perform collaboratively, move as fast a glacier, if at all. And while we wait for them to come to whatever decision they come to, there are still children dying. There are parents mourning their deaths. People are fleeing for their lives. AND there are men plotting the next explosion.
I wish I had the answer, I wish I knew where I stood; I wish that I could be comforted with the belief that everything turns out right in the end. Because right now, I am tired. Just so very tired.
And that is MY problem, and really what is that? It is so small and insignificant in light of what other people are going through. So, when I think about it from that perspective, I settle back into myself. My life is great. I remain safely housed, comfortably clothed and well-fed. I am not fleeing a terrorist group, bent upon the destruction of my way of life. I am not mourning the death of my brother shot down at a rock concert. I am not crammed into a cargo hold or sleeping on the streets. I am simply tired and uncomfortable with the messiness of life.
So, that is just it. Life is messy. Not sometimes, but always. The ambiguity of life is the only constant. That is what I need to remember. One of my favorite movie scenes from Parenthood comes to mind, Mary Steenburgen’s character is chastising Steve Martin’s character for making fun of the grandmother – roller coaster or merry-go-round, anyone? I don’t really get a choice, I ride the roller coaster, because life is a roller coaster. The only choice I have is how I ride it, arms up or gripping the bar in front of me.
I still do not have my answers. But I got my perspective back and that is a good beginning.