This is a time that tries the souls of conscientious people. The greed, graft, and crookedness has become overwhelming. I don’t need to tell you about it; you see the daily parade of corrupted politicians, plutocrats and public figures tipping their hats and waving as they pass by. Each one of them makes makes the world a little crummier, like a filthy King Midas turning everything they touch into a stinking pile of shit.
Citizen outrage has no affect. Oh sure, the media carps and Congress holds hearings seemingly every week and the President blusters about being angry and business leaders assure us it’s just because of a few bad apples. But nothing helps. The parade of bought bureaucrats, environmental rapists, and philandering celebrities gets larger every day until now there seem to be more people in the parade than watching it.
These latest few weeks have seemed especially bad. I think it’s a combination of factors: the realization that Obama is truly just more of the same, BP has decimated a large part of the world’s ocean and will skip merrily away without paying, and the long hoped for economic “recovery” won’t include jobs for the unemployed. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to more people who just seem ready to give up. They were once optimistic and now have lost hope. They would throw in the towel, but like Charlie Brown once asked in one of the old Peanuts comic strips, “Where does one go to give up?” An older man I spoke with said he was ready to wave the white flag of surrender while shouting to the elite: “You win! I give up! You’ve fucked me out of my job and everything I had. Go ahead and destroy the world- I can’t stop you!”
A young Obama voter I talked to rationalized his new found apathy by saying, “For hundreds, maybe thousands of years the people who are evil have lost but each time. But they learned a little bit more about how to do better the next time. Now they’ve learned enough that they control pretty much everything including the media. Nothing we say or do makes any difference. If we march in the streets it doesn’t get reported, so why bother?” I wish I could say that I had a response other than to mutter a few platitudes.
Telling people to let a smile be their umbrella seems futile when the rainshower has turned into a hurricane.
But still I refuse to give up. Why?
Part of it is that I don’t want to give the bullies of the world the satisfaction of winning. For over half a century I’ve endured physical and emotional punches that many times should have taken me out. But they didn’t. And sometimes I came back and won. Also, I don’t want to give up just before I could have won. It’s sort of like when someone asked comedian Woody Allen, since he was miserable and didn’t believe in God or Heaven or Hell or much of anything, why didn’t he just kill himself? His answer was that he wouldn’t want to blow his brains out and then read in the newspaper that “they’d found something.”
The other part is that usually at my moment of deepest despair something happens to inspire me to go on. The latest example being this: A young lady came to Easter services at the Spiritual Center. She didn’t normally attend church and had never been to ours before. She had come that day mostly because a friend had let her know that our progressive congregation includes an outreach program for pets. We pray for them, we conduct Reiki healing for them, and they can even attend services. This young lady was distraught because her beloved 10-year-old cat had developed a large tumor over his right ear. The veterinarian urged immediate surgery, which had no guarantee of success in stemming the tide of what looked like spreading cancer. She was willing to try it but the operation was impossible because her near minimum wage salary didn’t allow her to afford the $700 cost (paid in advance).
I introduced her to our head of animal spiritual connection. To be brief, we all agreed to frequently pray for the cat’s healing while picturing in our minds the cat as totally healthy (this is based upon the philosophy called Religious Science). For two weeks, I set aside 5 to 10 minutes a day for this task.
Good news! Earlier this week I heard from the young lady. Her cat is completely well! I went over to see. I had stopped by a few weeks ago and saw for myself the walnut sized tumor on his head and his noticeably shaky state of health. Now the tumor is gone without a trace and the affectionate creature could not appear happier or healthier. He has a new lease on life. And in some ways, so have I.
He beat the odds and so can we. Good people working together can make a difference. Yes there are many bad people in our world who seek to fill us with fear so they can keep us down. They want us to be like children who are afraid of the Boogie Man. When you feel that fear, stop and remind yourself that the Boogie Man only has as much power as we give him because he isn’t real. If we refuse to believe in him then he evaporates into nothingness. When you see others in fear, remind them of the same. The Apostle, Paul urged us to “… not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) Transform your mind and the minds of people around you with positive and beautiful thoughts and the world will become better.
Perhaps the depth of despair which we find ourselves in will be the turning point toward better times, much like the old platitude says, “It is always darkest before the dawn.”