Sunday, December 30, 2012

What's The Matter With Us ?

 I think at this point in the history of humankind we pretty much have to agree that we’re a fairly unwell and broken species. In the past week alone I’ve read about people who have shoved others in front of moving trains (for NO reason), parents who have harmed their children (NEVER a reason) and people who have just generally (and fatally) harmed others for no apparent reason. The dialogue goes; We need more guns, we need fewer guns, we need different leaders, we need the leaders we have to do more, we need church, church needs to stay out of this... The debate is intense and heated. That is, however, if you’re not paying attention to the ‘fiscal cliff’ that looms, oh so near! 
 Are you on facebook? Check the posts and calculate the “life sucks” posts. They are fairly equal with the “please pray for my _____” posts. We are in the water, slapping around, trying to keep from drowning and going back and forth between blaming God (fate, fortune, Buddha, Hindu, Astrology, Elvis or whoever you may pray to) or begging them for help. (We are also inviting everyone we know to something called Farmville but that’s another blog...) My humble question is; What’s wrong with us?
 We’re not naturally bad. We do good things. We help each other. We say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. We hold the elevator. We “after you” to pretty much anyone. We ‘like’ any post on facebook that hates cancer, racism, intolerance, animal cruelty, or really funny e-cards about drinking or how men/women aren’t as smart as ‘we’ are. In other words, on facebook at least, we like each other, we LIKE each other, we even LOVE each other (although there’s currently no button for that....) I’ve seen the posts; people that are struggling or suffering are met with ‘likes’ and posts of ‘I’m here for you”, ‘You’re beautiful, he/she doesn’t deserve you!’, ‘click “like” if you hate cancer, child abuse, gun-control, Kenny Chesney (okay, that’s just me!!). The point is, I really think we know how to be better. I think we know how to be good. It’s in us. The Moral Compass. Do I think there are bad people in the world? YES. Are they truly few and far between? YES.
 I think most of us want the best for others. I think we really do. I think that ideal gets distorted and muddied by the idea that we’re not good enough. FEAR. The most powerful motivator in this universe. Are you scared of cancer, poverty, death, humiliation, ridicule, Kenny Chesney (ok, again, that’s just me. I’m not scared of him, I’m just scared of what he represents...forget it...)? We all get scared, that’s a universal feeling. Today I heard a sermon from my preacher about Jesus being tempted (disclaimer: I’m a Christian), I remember thinking, Jesus had to be scared during this time. Later today, I shot guns with my daughter, (these two sentences together, should in no way lead you to determine my political beliefs, I am extraordinarily Liberal/conservative! (I love gay-gun owning-conservative-fox/news loving-astronauts). She was scared to fire the gun (.357 baby) but she trusted me (and her uncle Homer) and fired it once. A step of faith. Dr. Martin Luther King (one of my heroes) once said something to the effect of; “Faith isn’t seeing the entire staircase, it’s just taking the first step.”
 Maybe we’re just scared. Maybe we’re just like we were in high-school; afraid to take a stand that might call attention to ourselves. It's HARD! I’m lucky, I have a young daughter so I am commissioned to make a fool of myself. Will I wear a bathrobe to the grocery store? Of course! Do I honk my horn unnecessarily? YES! Even so, in the back of my mind, I’m afraid of being embarrassed. I don’t want to appear foolish. Even though my job (as a parent and an entertainer) requires that I make a complete fool of myself. 
 Fear is a big one. Fear has us hating others, fighting change, fighting the status quo, fear has us hating those that are different, those that are the same and those that might change things, because we all hate change! “I liked the cable channels where they were!”
 So what’s the point of this blog? i have no idea! I’m just struck by our similarities and our reluctance to voice them. I’m scared of fiscal cliffs, serial killers, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, poverty, arthritis, Kenny Chesney, snakes, heights, and being unloved. Maybe that last one’s the one, UNLOVED. We’re all loved. Someone loves you. Jesus knew that, that’s what gave him the strength to fight off the temptation. Buddha had the four noble truths. Dr. Martin Luther King had a supreme peace the night before he was murdered. I think (I THINK) that insight is a sudden revelation that this world ain’t everything, it’s just what’s now and it’s okay. The next episode is much, much better. Of course, there’s nothing saying that we can’t be better here and now. Let’s make the bad people a very small and rare population that is ostracized and looked upon as unusual. Let’s be the “better Angels of our nature” as Abraham Lincoln said. Let’s love a little harder, like a little more readily, be the people we want to meet tomorrow. I know we can do it. Tomorrow, when someone cuts you off in traffic just don’t flip them’s a start...