WTF is Going On?
Sometimes I look at the world and I despair. The news and its constant stream of awful, unimaginable destruction and inhumanity. Social media and its constant stream of vanity and self-destruction. There are so many reasons to feel a sense of hopelessness and I wonder to myself if it has always been this way.
Humanity in Action
For me the answer is no. I grew up on a farm in the middle of the Canadian prairies. The town had 800 people in it and everyone knew everyone. We lived a life strewn with peril and constantly at mother nature’s mercy. But when a crisis occurred for our fellow neighbour, people came out on mass to support. A barn burned down, the community rebuilt it. Cows escaped from the field, the community rounded them up again. When the worst happened and someone died unexpectedly, the community supported the best way they could, offering a kind ear, food and support with chores. We had our disagreements, but when it really mattered we were there for each other. The human spirit was alive and well and I wouldn’t be surprised if it still is today in the sleepy little town of Glenboro.
Four years ago I had a life changing experience, my marriage came to an end. Doesn’t seem like a big deal right, everyone is doing it these days, but I didn’t start out ever imagining that this is where the road would lead. At the beginning it was harder than anything I’d ever experienced. I had not taken control of my life at all while I was with my husband. I had no idea how to function as a single person. I found the days alone stretched out endlessly. The worst part was the absolute loneliness and feeling of isolation. I realised that I could go days without speaking to another living soul. Everything seems to be automated, but even if you go to a manned till or desk there is still no guarantee of human interaction. It’s like people have lost the art of conversation or worse yet just don’t give a shit. It is enough to drive one into a downward spiral of darkness.
It started to dawn on me how lonely our existences have become. How do housebound people cope? How many of us know our neighbours? How do you socialise in today’s day and age without a community? It is no surprise that depression is at an all-time high.
We teach our children Stranger Danger at school. What a limiting and awful thing to do. Having two children of my own, I get the need to protect them and we think that teaching them to run away when they see someone they don’t know will do that. But we aren’t teaching them the value that other people can bring to your life. We are a risk adverse society. We don’t want to be involved in other people’s drama or worse their danger. We see what happens to those people on the news when they don’t stay shut in their houses!
I watched a fabulous TED Talk by a woman named Kio Stark about Why You Should Talk to Strangers. She talks about how we need to not categorise and work on perceptions instead. It’s a no brainer isn’t it?! Shouldn’t we be teaching our children how to judge situations, to not assume and to use their common sense? We risk creating future generations who are completely isolated and have no idea how to connect to others if it’s not through a handheld device! But it’s more than that…it’s about being seen. Knowing that your existence has some sort of impact, even if it’s just a stranger on the train giving you a smile.
Light in the Darkness
As I recovered from divorce, I realised that there are ways to get out there and find your community, but you do need to look for it. I volunteered with the National Trust. I joined Park Run, against my better judgement (my knees will never forgive me)! I even joined a little art group for a while when I had more time. The local library constantly has all sorts of activities going on. There are groups for everyone and for interests and hobbies I didn’t even know existed! Some groups meet face to face, some just share ideas on-line, but either way it’s all about having a connection with others and sharing common values and likes.
Humanity may be battered and bruised, but I believe it is still alive. With a little TLC we can make things better.
If you are feeling lost and you think there is no way out… somewhere in this big wide world, someone genuinely cares for you. You don’t need to suffer alone. Reach out to a friend or if you feel your friends/family won’t understand reach out to any of the following organisations, they are all ready and willing to listen to you:
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard
Love and healing wishes to you wherever you are. May your light shine bright and true!