Looking at the world around us, it’s hard not to wonder if we, as a species have finally broken or if we’ve been broken all this time.
Take a moment and look around.
It isn’t just the ‘street people’ who talk to themselves now, it’s a lot of us.
Our moods have shifted, our attitudes have changed, and the optimism that still persisted in many of us has eroded.
I see younger and younger people living on the street, or panhandling.
I know more and more people struggling with addictions they didn’t face earlier in their lives.
I know more and more people who can’t find work, let alone work that fulfills some part of them beyond paying bills.
Whatever the American Dream once was, it seems we have woken from it and are now facing the harsh reality of a world too real.
Take your pick.
It could be any or all of those things.
Or one of a dozen subcategories.
We have weathered the storm and show the wear and tear.
And things are not getting easier.
Basic human rights – the right of choice – are taken away by a handful of people serving political masters and come across as just more rapists who do as they please without caring the repercussions on the victim.
Oh, too strong?
Hiding behind a Bible and telling me God told you this or that doesn’t take your guilt away.
Doesn’t take your shame away.
And it doesn’t take away the lies you told to get where you are today.
Your religion doesn’t impress me, nor does the reliance on it as a scapegoat for your political payback.
It’s staggering though how many people in need of immediate psychiatric help I see on a weekly basis but who won’t get it because we, as a culture, don’t let them. Too many of us still don’t believe in it. Too many of our leaders don’t, though they certainly need it. Blaming mass shootings on a video game or on Critical Race Theory shows a need for not just your own critical thinking but a reminder of what reality is. These people have been playing dress up Christian for so long they think they are Christians and they need an intervention.
But so do we.
Because we’re broken.
And we need help.
It’s funny though that as much help as we may need we’ll never pay the people out there to help us.
Our insurance will barely cover much of it and most of us can’t afford it.
Not that the money goes to the care workers or social workers, not the boots on the ground people.
Not the teachers.
It stays with companies, with insurance agencies, with corporations, and with doctors.
The people who deal with the messy, and dangerous situations, who try to intervene before it’s too late, put their safety and sanity on the line for us but we’ll never pay them what they deserve because they’re just like us, schmucks working a day job while the top half of the staff list rakes in the big money by sitting behind a desk.
I look outside and see a world on literal fire, the earth screaming in flames and our waterways drying up but we still can’t agree that the world is dying and it’s our fault.
Oh, gosh, this happens all the time, says the fat cat cashing checks from the oil companies.
What do they care if they destroy the earth if they get to have a private jet and a yacht and a mansion?
What do they care?
Their legacy is their family wealth, their generational wealth which means nothing on a planet that’s dead.
Imagine all the money these monstrous people have being spent, even a fraction of it, to save the planet they call home?
Imagine if they spent it to save the people that live on that planet?
Not even ALL of their money but a small percentage that for them feels like a cut that will heal and not a wound they’ll regret.
There’s vacations to take and companies to buy and social media to post on.
The Haves want us to watch them spend their money and languish over how hard it is to be a celebrity when they choose the life they lead, unlike so many who survive the life they were given. We fetishize the wealthy as if they are better than us because they have money when they are exactly like us, pettiness, shallowness, and insecurities intact.
But we need someone to look up to, so why not them?
We want to be them, to live that lifestyle, to want for nothing and to be envied and desired and loved.
Candy colored calories that don’t fill anything but our rears and our heads.
It’s no wonder we’re cracking apart.
We have told so many generations that their lives, their families, their struggles mean nothing and we wonder why they have no value in life. We tell them that they cannot amount to anything and refuse to fix the systems that should help them achieve more and we wonder why they steal. We treat them as if they don’t deserve the rights we brag about to the rest of the world and wonder why they want change.
We have pushed all of the power to the very top, to the wealthy and to the political and our lives, and the future of this world rests on whether those people can find it in themselves to have souls and compassion.
And we wonder why we’re broken.
I admire you, friends, who are pushing through, who are struggling, and who are not giving up. This feels as if we are all on a journey of a thousand tears through neverending brambles but the only way is forward and we have no choice.
We can only hope for a clearing up ahead and for wisdom to shine down.
Maybe some folks who are religious will want to honor the gods they worship and protect this world.
Maybe this is just a rough patch in a long life of humankind.
I hope so.
And if I can still hope, so can you, and that’s the spark that can relight the flame in all of us and keep pushing us forward.