Friday, August 13, 2010

In Search of...a mad, mad, mad, mad world

It's Friday, the 13th. Personally, I have always considered it kind of a lucky day, but then again, I've been known to step on cracks, and occasionally open an umbrella inside, all of which I've been told would bring sure doom.

It's about 152 degrees here in Nashville, and I can't seem to remember a time before it was 152 degrees. The heat is making people crazy. I think we can safely say that this summer has taught us all the secret to achieving peace in the Middle East - air conditioning. Seriously, it's too damn hot and it makes people cranky. And by people I mean me. So I'm thinking that goes for Arabs and Israelis too.

While we're on the subject of cranky people, well, maybe just a tad more than cranky, how about that lady who wanted her chicken McNuggets and went a little mad when she couldn't get them at six in the morning? I think that McDonalds should give her a free lifetime supply - well, after she finishes serving her jail sentence, that is.

And the Jet Blue flight attendant, how crazy was he?! But come on, haven't we all wanted to do that? We shake our heads no and scoff at him, but secretly we wish we had the guts at one time or other. Did he hurt anyone? I don't think so. Did he endanger anyone? Again, I don't think so. So he got angry, cursed a bunch, took a couple of beers, and slid down the airplane slide thing and walked off. All in all, it's been cathartic for all of us, hasn't it?

These kinds of things seem to be happening every day now, though. And I'm wondering how we got to be so mad. You don't really have to look far for the answer. The thing that bugs me most is that our ire is misdirected. It's easier to think we're victims of corporate America. It's easier to blame BP for the oil spill than it is to stop using oil, isn't it? It's easier to blame God for natural disasters than it is ourselves for ruining the environment. It's oh so much easier to blame banks or Wall Street than it is to learn to live within our means. Fires are raging, glaciers are melting, and venom is spewing forth from our lips and our souls. We blame the left, we blame the right, and the only thing our anger is doing is masking our immense fear. We are a generation ill-equipped to figure out our own survival, and so instead of taking a moment to get quiet and tap into what connects us to one another, we run around screaming, arms flailing, trying to drown out the deafening terror we feel about our own mortality. We have a need to be right, to be exonnerated, to rid ourselves of the guilt for making such a mess of such a beautiful world. But blame, even when directed inward, is not a healing force. So what is? Uh oh, here it

When you love something, you treat it thoughtfully. You take care to preserve the integrity of it, the longevity of it, the form of it. You make an effort, you give consideration, you think before you jeopardize something when you love it.

So yes, I'm back to my hippy-dippy love-fest, because I wonder what the world would be like if we not only behaved that way toward our flat screen TV's, but toward each other. I wonder what the environment would be like if we treated it as well as our favorite sweater. I wonder what our relationships and politics would be like if we cared about them as much as the tiniest possessions we cherish.

We are living in a time when kindness is suspect, when peace seems like a quaint antiquated idea as realistic as Santa and the tooth fairy, when love has been made a mockery of. But the only way out of this is to redefine our priorities, to redirect our thoughts and beliefs, and to act accordingly. We want the quick fix, the diet pill, the immediacy without the long term effort. We want the reward without the sacrifice. I hate to break it to you, but it ain't gonna happen. Even a lottery winner had to make the effort to actually go to the store and purchase the ticket. It's crazy to think that we can all sit back and be rescued. Haven't you ever watched them tear down a building? One, two, three, they blow it up and it comes crashing down. But to build is arduous. It's brick by brick, hour by hour, painstaking work. But in the end, the building that's built with care stands stronger, lasts longer, is a reflection of the work put into it. And so it is with our lives and the world we live in.

I wish you all the feeling of knowing you did your best, the peace that comes from seeing the outcome as you wish it to be, and the soul-felt certainty of a love that is beyond what we mere mortals can conceive.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tells your friends.

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