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By Mari Erin Roth
Staff Writer 

What is going on in the world?


August 9, 2016  | View PDF

Or perhaps I should say, “What in the world is going on?” I’m sure most of us are thinking the same thing, perhaps for different reasons, but thinking along similar lines.

I can’t help but hear the voices of generations before me when I think such thoughts. It seems each age group thinks the world is so much worse off than it ever has been before.

Fortunately, we have a well documented past that reminds us of the giant leaps in humanity we have made as a society. Yet sometimes, and very often lately, it’s hard to imagine that where we are is any progress at all.

I wonder if the trick is to “accentuate the positive” and only look at the improvements and strides forward that have been made, or would that be considered “turning a blind eye” to a world in chaos?

Who knows? There is surely not one single answer that fits our many current, disturbing situations. “Love is the answer” — I like that. It sounds simple, hard to apply perhaps, but simple enough. How exactly does one apply that principle to the politics, the world violence or pervading lack of mental health people of the world seem to be experiencing?

“Perspective is everything” — I’ve heard. Or has it actually been part of the problem to make the best of things as they are? Is that the way that I have contributed to the situations we are in, by not screaming loud enough when I see injustice? I always question my judgment and consider that what I deem an injustice, another reserves as a right, so I remain silent.

Can I be glad, as I am, to be in Quincy somewhat removed from the recent turbulence of the world? Too many questions whose answers vary from place to person to time of day.

Doing what I can, I regularly make a decision to do my part in each 24 hours to help people, be clear and not further the sadness I see. I try to often think of others and when in my deepest hole of regret, reach out to lend a hand to someone else, which works.

I have reaffirmed my dedication to seek a quiet place in my mind, as often as possible each day, and nurture that calm with all my might. I feel a desperate need to “ground” myself in all things good and natural and pure. I consciously refrain from antagonizing others, forgetting my manners or simply giving in to what I perceive as bad behavior or unsettling actions in any space, real or imagined.

And yet, the recent surge of local, foreign and especially domestic events make me question the value of my path. It’s like a new wave to consider … each … time … life in society escalates in craziness to the next level. It is truly painful, and still for me, it is truly necessary to reevaluate.

I’m relieved that I notice; I’m grateful I am not numb to the grief and trials others are enduring, or sadly not, in some cases.

I empathize deeply with citizens of the planet who are in turmoil, that are suffering unimaginable loss. Many times with the news of yet one more tragedy I wonder how are folks able to find the strength to face such challenges, how do they, or can they overcome?

It inspires me in a yin and yang sort of way; the negativity requires that I take positive action in my own life. I am compelled to value each of my many breaths to honor those for whom the option has been irreversibly removed. I must or … I don’t know, I guess I’m too afraid to find out.

So I go on, repeating as often as necessary, a pledge to myself “that I will live a life worth living” in response to each disturbing hit. I suspect that is some sort of gift although I witness my reluctance to open. There is a part of me, I realize, that is still hoping it’s all a bad dream.

Perhaps the greatest gift of all, though, is that I do not go through this process alone. I have made an effort to connect with others and we support each other as we collectively go through these trying and changing times.

Isolation in hard times, I find, is not such a good thing. It is my instinct to curl up in a corner and lick my wounds until they heal, but these are not my wounds, they are of the society I live in. I imagine in some unconscious way I helped create these problems, but think it is only as a society that we can heal them.

So today I will reach out to my friends and associates, try to be an approachable human being for others and hang on tight as together we find a way to the other side of these confusing times.


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