It’s cold this morning. The sky is a dull grey and the temperature doesn’t seem as if it’s going to climb much by midday. The cold that I feel, though, has little to do with weather conditions. I’m feeling, in the words of Robert Fulghum, a little weird. “Life is a Little Weird.”
It seems to me that hope and joy are in danger of leaving my heart, my neighborhood and, maybe, the world. And that’s chilling!
Rambling around social media this morning and checking in on various news sites, I was struck by just how different our individual reactions are on what happened at Mizzou, in Beirut, in Paris, during the political debates, and around the world.
I was also struck by the name calling, the blame, the threats, the predictions, the endless rehashing of past wrongs, the fear, the labels, the “quick fixes,” the despair, the exhortations to ignore the bad and substitute love, the name calling, the blaming, the knee-jerk reactions, the threats, the calls for retaliation, the fear, the name calling, the blame . . .
Do you get my point?
As Mister Rogers instructed, I keep looking for the “helpers,” those wise souls who will get all of us, and the world itself, “back on track.”
I am tempted, as are many of my friends, to pick a novel off the shelf, turn on some good music, settle in with a pillow and a blanket, and wish the world away.
But I know it won’t go away. I also know that I cannot quiet my thoughts.
The question, then, is what to do about it. What does one do when the cold seeps in?
I first remembered Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher and theologian whose writings had impressed me as a college student. What remained with me from that long ago class was the phrase: “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” Indeed, I thought, we are experiencing a thorny reality these days.
So, I set off in search of more wisdom from the 19th Century thinker. What I found along the way, in addition to some more of Kierkegaard’s memorable lines, were some other things that warmed my spirit.
I found a piece by Jena Lee Nardella. The tagline is “Reject Apathy.” The message resonates.
The internet is a wonderful tool, as I keep discovering. By rambling through it enough, not pausing to play in the gutter, but seeking out the high ground, one can find some solace and many truths. It happened to me this morning.
So, I am resolved, as Jena Nardella counsels, to just “keep on keepin’ on,” because the path is uneven; “slowly by slowly” has always been the way to accomplish good, and I still believe the “destination” is worth it. The way to a better world remains ours to pave. We — all of us, separately and together — just have to keep on working for it.
I know there are a lot of people working for good. Remember this: “When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.”