Or perhaps even better, living through unprecedented times, in a world on fire where the crisis du jour is served up every day on MSM, one may begin to wonder, is it just me? Or do others see what I see? On one hand is distress caused by those who would prefer something other than a Democratic Republic and on the other hand a sense of calm in the midst of storms. I find that I need to balance what I see and hear externally with what I believe and practice internally. In other words, my identity as human being with meaning and purpose sustains me in the face of so much division and disagreement on a larger scale. I hear people starting to talk as if so much is in the past as in, “It has been several years…”(fill in your own description) when, in fact, we are still very much in the midst of numerous crises. However, so many stories of human compassion, good will, collaboration and being good neighbors seldom makes the headlines.
I now limit what I take in from the outside world and have, in fact, become more selective and discerning for what I allow to take up thought space and time in my life. I wonder at times if this is a function of growing a little older and wiser or whether it’s merely a reasonable response to so much that seems unreasonable and impractical. I hold a set of beliefs, values and opinions that keep me informed and on track when I evaluate and assess what I see, hear, and read.
We can focus on and pay attention to experiences as points of reference. For example, smallpox and polio were eradicated primarily through vaccines. The pandemic has been a different experience partly because of those who remain unvaccinated, partly because of the high degree of contagion and partly because no action was taken sooner. When people fail to follow good health practices, good health is likely to be compromised. If people fail to follow basic principles of safety, the chances of an “accident” are increased exponentially.
The political miasma that continues to foul the air and that gained a following back in 2015, and before then, continues to sow seeds of distrust and disrespect. In spite of a contest in 2020 with historic turnout, Joe Biden topped TFG by nearly 7 million votes and 74 votes in the Electoral College, but his victory really was stitched together with narrow margins in a handful of states. That is an indication of how elections can go either way depending on the turnout of voters from different parties. It’s also why such extravagant amounts of money are now poured into campaigns by those with self-serving agendas.
Through it all, I continue to have and express a concern for justice, equity, inclusion and peace. That thought takes me to the Prayer of St. Francis, a prayer of action as much as contemplation and belief:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.