Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What do we celebrate?

Life is about more than I can even fathom at this moment. Sometimes, I feel pushed like a tide is carrying me into deeper and deeper waters; the Syrian crisis to 9/11 to wildfires. No matter what you believe about wars in general, refugees, what actually happened on 9/11, no matter what, people are suffering, have suffered. I see a meme floating around comparing Mulala to a Kardashian. I can't stand the Kardashians. I love Mulala. Basically, it is asking, what do we celebrate?

Sometimes I despair….what do we celebrate? Eyes roll when politics come up. Differing points of view turn into fences and walls and wars of words, and if they gather enough steam, wars. I remember as a child, when my favorite television show was interrupted because something needed round the clock news coverage; I was so upset. How dare something I couldn't care less about preempt my viewing habits. I celebrated my television shows; my leisure time. My perceived rights even. One year, I was really mad a soon to be Princess was preempting my shows. And then I fell in love with the Princess, and didn't care anymore. What could we fall in love with now? What could preempt our lives and turn into a love story?

I see the community rallying for those who have lost everything in these raging fires. (On a side note, I love the imagery of losing everything in a symbolic fire, for then everything you build from there can have purpose and intention.) But I digress….
I see donation centers reach max capacity of clothes, blankets, pet food. People packing up their trailers with food to share, homes opened, trailers sent after left behind horses and animals. The community knows how to care. The community knows how to rally and come together.

But I have this nagging thought.
How do we learn to live in such a way that we can give to those who may be displaced by something else. Something singular. Something personal. Something that is twisted into looking like someone's hand in our pockets. The personal fires, that sometimes people can build on, and sometimes leave people desolate.

How do we not suffer compassion fatigue as we're swept along the tide of suffering. Humans, animals. There's always a need. There's always a Gofund me, a sick friend, a sick animal, a disaster, a riot, a war. How do we rise above this constant need, so we're not sucked dry and can no longer give or even care.

How do we get people to care in the first place? Many people have a lens on life that it is all about their own checklist: career: check, house: check, baby: check, vacation: check, the good life: check, check, check. All good things, no doubt. But what could move a person outside of this system, into one that celebrates humanity?

It's scary to care.
Sometimes, we're even judged for what we care about.
Kim Davis wouldn't do her job. The internet lit up talking about it. Then, in some circles, anyone who talked about it was under fire from those who felt the Syrian Crisis was a 'bigger deal'. I see this kind of logic time and again. The arbiters of what's important. Here's what I think: It's all a big deal. All of the ways we treat each other. All of the ways we celebrate life, or annihilate it. It all matters.

The more we celebrate that which alienates and devastates, the more we set ourselves up to one day be the refugees.

It feels like I care from a place of emergency. From the comfort of my home. I listen to the news, I scroll through Facebook. I'm moved. And then I move on. I can't sit in that place of grief or I'll die. Inside first.
So, here's my final thoughts: how can I create some margins in my life for caring? How can I incorporate actively caring in a sustainable way, for truth is, there will always be a need. How can I set aside money to give away freely when disaster strikes? I know so many people living beyond their means, and yet, their means are incredible; and living well within in them, they'd still be richer than most of the world. How do we flip our perspectives so we appreciate what we have so much that we want to share instead of hoard? Hopelessness says we can never give enough. Entitlement says we deserve all we have and more. I feel guilty nearly every time I buy something frivolous, yet that's not living. That's not helping anyone. I think sometimes it's all or nothing, and wind up giving nothing, because I'm afraid of unraveling. But. Somewhere, there is balance. That is what I am looking for. The place where we can still find joy in small things and big things, coexisting with the place where we can give until it hurts.

Instead of feeling hopeless about all that is falling apart, I'm going to pull myself together, and celebrate some life. I'm going to be grateful for what I have, most importantly for who I have. And I'm going to give. Time, money, whatever I can. Today. I'm going to celebrate life.


robertjm said...

I remember, back in 1973, when I was so mad that they were interrupting all the cartoons I would watch as a kid so that they could air the Watergate Hearings. Obviously, a 9-yr-old had little grasp on what was going on at the time, and I can look back and chuckle at it now. But, when it was happening I was angry at all these strange, gruff sounding, men who had invaded my tv screen.

Cassandra said...

Thank you for your comment! It's such a good analogy of things now. We often have little grasp of what is going on, but are disgruntled for one reason or another.
Sometimes, it takes a fresh perspective to understand.
On a lighter note, kids are funny!