Jan 13, 2011

Not One of My Best Days

Today, I got into a thread of posts that I should have known from the get-go would trouble me. It especially disturbed me that someone I regard as a friend started it, and that it was an intentional "front" and completely disingenuous. This particular post was clearly in reference to a disappointment in politics on his part, which makes me feel equally disappointed in him. He's always been a Sarah Palin fan and defender. Not sure why, especially in recent months. She did something wrong, tried to lie about her intentions, then proceeded to shrug off any responsibility because some were blaming her for inciting a gunman's horrific and tragic shooting spree.

The saddest part about all of this, to me, is that many conservatives are now down in the dumps because Palin's poorly formed statements clearly caused their party's new-found popularity to plummet. And it happened just as President Obama's was raised by his more conciliatory and moderate tone in the wake of the deadly shooting spree. How wrong we have gone as a society when a party's spokespersons not only espouse their views in a nasty, reckless way, but get upset when the leader of the other party would rather hand them an olive branch than get into the muck with them? I do not understand that. I really DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT. And I know I never will.

Here's the quote that started the thread: “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.” I initially didn't understand the point, and tried to think of world leaders and public figures who've claimed their attempts at takeover were akin to Hiltler's desire for power. I'd never think of that as being common. I remarked in the thread that the only other real figure that's spoken out about saving humanity is Jesus. After I got that he was referring to American politics, it gave me that heartache, the one that tells me nothing will ever be about something other than 'self' and 'stuff,' and the trading back and forth of barbs about who's most concerned with self and stuff. It's that feeling that makes me wish I didn't live in Western society.

I think of humanity in much more spiritual terms. Humanity is what God has concern about, and His ways of achieving societal harmony couldn't be more clear. Love for one's fellow man goes so much farther than most people are willing to take the chance on living out. There's no trust. The vast majority live as though we're all animals, with no self control. They want to make sure that, no matter what, they've got their own needs covered, even if it means crawling over others to get it. Everything and everyone is fair game to them, except for those who profess the same urgency and methodology. They're off limits to anyone who might take them to task or question their activity. That's not what Jesus had in mind; yet, a majority of these individuals will stand under the banner of Christianity, even behave as though they have a proprietary claim to it.

A psychologist friend once gently told me that, being the rarest of personality types, a "dreamy idealist," I'll never feel comfortable or at home in this life, and that I'd better just get used to that fact. I can still remember looking at her in shock, and trying to digest all she'd just said. She continued in a matter-of-fact way, "INFP's make up less than 2% of the population. You're just weird." That last part was meant to lighten things up and make me laugh, but I couldn't. To me, there's nothing funny about being unconcerned with the devolution of society. To my mind, concern for humanity and the plight of others should be the first and foremost of urges that drive our activity, because we are NOT animals. We're beings with vast knowledge and the gift of free will.

I'm reading back over what I just wrote, and I guess I am weird. Or delusional. Or just silly. There are many, many days I'd love to just hide or be taken away, but the fact that I'm still here must mean there's still work I'm supposed to be doing somehow, somewhere in this world. For now, I volunteer with families in crisis in my community. I've raised my children to be loving, compassionate, and responsible. And they HAVE made a difference in their schools and among their friends. At the end of every school year, they're voted "most admired, respected" and/or "best student overall" by their classmates. But they're not doing anything we consider special. They're just spirit-driven teenagers doing what they're supposed to do at school. 

I know this has been rambling, but can anybody out there feel me?? And I'm talking about people over the age of thirty, who aren't working in the Peace Corps, or so busy feeding children in Haiti that they have no time to get online. I'm talking about people who don't think that remaining a virgin until marriage is both stupid and something to be ashamed about. Are there REGULAR weird people out there reading this? I think I was born a few decades too late. Or maybe a few centuries. And, today, it's really depressing.

When life seems cut short prematurely
During times like the aftermath of the shootings in Arizona, most of us feel especially distressed over the life of a young child being lost. We look at their photos, see their beautiful innocence, and ask, "Why them?" Our minds go to where the parents' surely do over and over. They'll never know the joy of watching them graduate, get married, have children, never know what kind of person their child grows up to be. I used to think that way, but recently I've been given a new perspective, listening to the accounts of people who've died and come back. They come back with answers to many of our big questions.

Why does it seem that it's always the good that die young? The ones that show great promise and character get taken from our midst, leaving us to wonder why not this person or that person, somebody who, by all appearances, is doing little more than taking up space and oxygen. Those people seem to live forever. But think about the death of the little girl in Arizona another way. Her life and death have made a huge impact on our society. We've had to stop and really scrutinize ourselves and the way we speak to and about one another. We Americans have become very reckless with our words, and the rapid-delivery, viral nature of our communications now only serves to make it worse.

It's not easy to accept or to think about, but some people are just born to die young. And it's for a purpose. People who claim they have been on the other side and had questions answered consistently relate that certain people are taken from this life because their souls serve a better and higher purpose on the other side. Their deaths inevitably spur on valuable activity and new ways of thinking in the people they leave behind. Many who come after them avoid the same fate because of what's been learned in the wake of their deaths. It's a universal law and a truism. Those souls DO live on, and continue to be a close presence in the lives of their loved ones. Their guiding hands aren't visible, but they're there, always. And they're overjoyed to be where they are, their existence being one of pure freedom and an unconditional love greater than any of us can describe or imagine.

The families of the Arizona shooting victims are hurting, terribly. We ache for them. And we should continue to be of consolation and support for them and the others impacted by the violence. But there's something more important for us to do, without delay. We need to reflect on ways we can, ourselves, become better people. In the end, all that truly matters is how much and how well we have loved. What's going to matter is how well we've learned to be so busy examining and bettering ourselves, that we haven't the time, energy, or inclination to point out what anybody else is doing. How incredible it would be if everyone really cared for others as well, no, better, than they do for themselves! That's the ideal, but we're badly missing the mark. when we consider the lives of those we've lost for now, we need to remind ourselves to remember what we keep saying we need to never forget.

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