Sunday, July 14, 2013

living in fear

For the last 22 hours, I have had a hard time enjoying the moments. A thought keeps poking at my brain: I want to live somewhere else. Like, a different country. Or planet. My 14-year old son says this regularly in his indignant teenage angst, and I remember that feeling. I listened to Cronkite, snuck notorious books from the library, and subscribed to Rolling Stone so I became well informed about Charles Manson's family and the Jonestown massacre, about apartheid and Stephen Biko, about energy crises and hostage situations. It seemed like everything I read or heard indicated a doomed future world. I felt so helpless being able to only fume over the nightly news, join Amnesty International, commiserate with The Smiths.

Then I got older, did a little bit of letter-writing & fist-waving in college, spoke out in PTA & at school board meetings, then settled into adulthood and considered myself Doing My Best by teaching open-mindedness, critical thinking, and questioning to teenagers and being properly outraged on social media regarding timely topics. This is the approach I've encouraged with my children, after acknowledging that things seem bleak but pointing out that there is always hope.

This week has tested my silver linings outlook.

I will not now get into the arguments people have about marriage and sexuality and abortion and guns and self-defense and race but just say this: I want so much for the citizens of my country to just have a heart for each other. To simply say "Hello" before any other words. To ask questions when we're confused, or suspicious. Or maybe even just walk the other direction if we feel we cannot have a rationale discussion.

Live and let live.

Because if we can't do these things, I'm afraid to stay here much longer.