Head down, laser focused, mood enhancing helpers within grasp… (coffee, chocolate)… This is how I have always managed my responsibilities, no matter what was going on in the background.
But business as usual is not always possible.
There are events in every life that are so disruptive that no mastery of concentration, self-discipline, or will power can prevent our straying from course. Illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss.
Anything that affects the children we cherish.
There are world events that are equally distracting, disturbing, devastating — even if we are spectators rather than actors. So we turn away from responsible routine, we succumb to sorrow, we let go the tight grip of the reins that enable us to direct our days.
Yes, we can resist the loss of compassion and common sense through raising our voices and shoring up our communities. But why does it feel like too little to combat the swell of callous disregard for the most vulnerable among us? Has this become our business as usual?
The events in the news have my attention, and my profound concern. The divisiveness so present in our country is unlike anything I can recall. The most recent terroristic attack in the U.K. is every parent’s worst nightmare, and I know this to be an understatement. My own struggles to deal with easily addressable pain in a healthcare system that seems to fight my path to getting better at every step, pales in comparison. Nevertheless, the prolonged process and idiotic obstacles I’ve faced for years wear me down, and yes, depress me. Chronic pain is a depressant. “Business as usual” becomes ever more challenging.
Many of us have adjusted to the fact that elements of society we once relied upon can no longer be assumed. From “security” in the job marketplace to the stability of marriage, we’ve come to understand that there’s no such thing as safety, certainly not in the ways we once thought of it. But the degree to which trust in our institutions has been eroded, the way civil discourse has been replaced by hateful shouting, the routine “otherizing” of those who disagree with us, the sheer spectacle and horror of unspeakable acts of violence… this dizzying new reality is impossible to process.
We are aching and stymied. We hope for a little distraction, yet we worry about growing desensitized.
How not to plummet into the darkness? How to fight the growing sense of impotence in a world that is increasingly unfathomable? At some point, do we run out of the requisite energy to keep up the good fight?
You may tell me that mankind has always been violent, barbarous, at war — one way or another. Maybe so. But what of our moments of light? Why do they seem so elusive these days?
I have no words. My sadness is silencing my pen.
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