As I say all the time I get that much of what I do when I write these blogs is bleeding out the toxins in my mind. Man there are a lot of toxins.
A lot – a lot.
If anyone gets something out of what I write, then awesome.
But I get that when I write these they are about me, my biases, my prejudices, and the way I see the world.
We live in a world that is constantly shifting.
The ground beneath our culture and beliefs are changing and moving and we are trying to move and change with them. In the past we were able to gloss over our biases and prejudices but we are in an era where we are doing a deeper dive into what is and why it is that way. That isn’t to say that things have not always been in flux but there are times when society hiccups and the people are faced with changing or standing resolute in the face of a change of perceived norms.
We hate change.
All of us.
Those in power REALLY hate change, and when there are shifts in the culturally accepted ‘norm’ and a threat to the dominant power structure things get…dark. Things get dangerous.
Such is the case now.
We can list reasons WHY things are so crazy right now.
We can list people and things to blame.
We can list ways to cure the ills.
But lists don’t change things. They simply let us process the things that either are or which we must deal with.
We’re in deal mode.
And we have to deal.
But in dealing, there must be balance.
Ah, an easy thing to say but not so easy to do.
Balance is the uneasy ground we all try to walk every day as we guide ourselves along the path.
Don’t eat TOO much of this but allow yourself to enjoy things a little.
Work out but maybe not EVERY day.
Spend money but not TOO much money.
It’s all a balancing act.
Work AND play.
Every day we work to balance the world around and within us but as a culture we must do the same.
We can never become the reflection of that which we fight against.
It is such an easy thing, to give in to the allure of our ‘other’. To lose sight of our purpose and to take what seems like a more direct route to speak our message. How do we make them hear and respect us and our view if we don’t speak in their own language? And there is sense in that.
It is easy to give in to hatred and to reflect it back because it seems as if hatred is the coin of the day. It seems logical. But we forget that we are not speaking to those we oppose, we are speaking to those who will not speak up and join our voices. We are speaking to the people who do not march, who do not fight openly but who do vote, who do feel, and who may want change as well but are not able or willing to stand beside those on the front lines of this culture war.
And if you speak hatred then distinguishing you from those you oppose becomes nearly impossible because all people see are screaming faces and thrown fists. Nothing is solved, it’s just allowing ourselves to vent and hurt as we feel we have been hurt.
But while this is a war, a culture war, it is not one fought in the trenches.
It is not one that can be hashtagged, or sloganed, or profile pictured.
It is a fight that happens day by day by day. It is a fight that happens with our families, our friends, our associates, strangers and lovers alike.
This is a fight with people we love and must continue to love if we are going to walk them towards the wisdom of a changing world.
But through all of this there must be balance.
We live in a world of gray and it is foolish and dangerous to proclaim that THIS is bad or THOSE are wrong or that THESE are terrible without fully appreciating that you are pushing people away by proclaiming these things. Yes, some things, people, and things are inherently bad and I won’t list them as proof.
In our hearts we know what is bad and wrong.
Not everyone does though and it is those people we need to help.
Not by damning them but by showing them patience and wisdom.
Not by telling them they are racist, or sexist, or ableist, or an awful person but by helping them to appreciate that while each of us lives at the center of our personal universe we must be aware that we live in a world of people who we do not know and may never know and that if none of us will work together then this beautiful world we live on will simply burn away and leave this universe without the fingerprints or breath of mankind.
Yes, there are a lot of problems in this world.
A lot – a lot.
But by shouting at allies and potential allies and telling them how awful they are – when they may not even be aware of their ‘crimes’ – you are simply cutting your army down and creating more factions and less solutions. You don’t have to love everything about everyone, and you don’t have to love the things everyone does and the way we all live our lives but before you damn people you should see if there’s a way to teach them differently.
Balance your disdain with patience.
Balance your frustration with love.
Care about the people in your life to help them see a bigger world.
This is a war with no end though and it will be fought long after we are all dead but with luck, a lot of luck, the war our ancestors fight will not be the same ones we are fighting now. They will find new things to argue over, new issues to champion, and we will have moved the culture forward, slowly, so slowly, and it will begin to embrace more people.
That is the key.
A world that embraces everyone.
Not agrees with everyone.
Not forgives everyone.
But embraces them just the same.
This world is both too big and too small to push ourselves into corners with anger and hate.
It isn’t easy to balance the rage with love but we must.
We must find a way forward.
We must become lights to the world that will illuminate the ignorant and cast them into the light.
We must be a light that exorcises this world’s demons and celebrates our many angels.
And all of it starts with balance.
Balancing our pain with the need to keep pushing forward.
Even as the stone we all carry grows heavier and heavier.