At this time of year we know we are meant to find extra space for love, compassion and giving towards others. Right now, in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in particular, I wish I weren’t feeling quite as numb and empty.
I’ve written before of my sensitivity to human (and non-human) suffering. I don’t watch the news. I don’t buy magazines that make their living from perpetuating unhelpful myths, exploiting, or invading the privacy of others. Even when I strive to keep my incoming information stream as palatable as possible, my inbox is still filled daily with notifications of injustice; it filters through. There are things I see that are so hard to process, so devoid of any sense, order or fairness that I just have to step back a bit. That bothers me greatly because it’s not even constructive. Just as when it comes to the sadness that my loved ones might be experiencing- of course I’ll let them know I’m there for them, but when there’s nothing that can really be done during tough times to lighten their heart or ease the load- it just feels so…useless.
And it’s hard to love, there’s so much to hate
Hanging on to hope
When there is no hope to speak of
And the wounded skies above say it’s much, much too late
Well maybe we should all be praying for time
– Praying For Time, George Michael
This is not just a fall-in-a-heap post where I simply rail at the world’s tragedies, scream WHHHHHYYYYY!!! then run and hide (although at first this is what it looks and feels like.) It’s me acknowledging my anger, disappointment and frailties, and remind myself that this is okay. The thing I need to remember is that the only reason I feel this way, is because I do FEEL.
While of course there are individuals whose strength and compassion are completely awe-inspiring, on the whole I find humans incredibly perplexing, often frustrating. I have strong morals and values that I believe in. These are often at odds with what sometimes seems like the majority of the world’s population, its politics, beliefs, or cultures of inequality.
In our society, it’s the ones that never look outside their own bubble of desire. Those for whom considering life in someone else’s shoes is not even a flash of thought, let alone an undertaking. Those who take for granted or hold a sense of entitlement, about everything they’re fortunate enough to have or experience right now- with not a moment’s reflection before wanting the next ‘thing’. That is not me. It’s not much, but I do what I can. I volunteer, I sign and share petitions, share articles, make donations, buy particular items. I try to keep my purchases mindful of human rights, or the environment and where the proceeds go. It all takes a little bit of extra time, effort and research- but it’s incredibly worth it! The world is round and there’s only one of her.
At some point it seems Western and other affluent societies largely replaced giving with taking. Our sense of community, humanity, empathy and compassion, with the desire to own more and bigger stuff. Awareness of our global brothers and sisters with awareness of what the celebrities are up to. Valuable and important news hidden behind the front page sensationalism. There’s nothing wrong with having nice things or light entertainment. It’s more about how, and how much.
I will always be sensitive and flawed. I will always need to protect myself and take a moment to step back like right now. But I’ll always, always have the well-being of, or goodwill toward, others in my head and in my heart. Even if it doesn’t convert into anything tangible in the immediate term, or feels like chaos swirling around inside me. It is there, to pass on to my children. It’s there to remind me of the special people in my life I admire and hold so dear. It is there for me to express who I am and what I believe in. While my personal religious beliefs are non-existent or agnostic, it is there, to add to the universal consciousness in the hope of attracting a better time. It simply is there.
I’m so very pleased to find this great quality link to one of my favourite George Michael songs to share with you.