Last week was not a good week for the planet and I've been taking it personally. Aside from the Iran Crisis and North Korea, we had the usual games being played in Europe, South America and Southeast Asia. At some moment, I realized that I had once again drifted into a spectator role. I was trying to sort out the good insurgents from the bad insurgents, the real terrorists from the "revolutionaries," and I was finding that the conservative/liberal divide seems to be a universal constant everywhere we look.
As President Obama is declaring the possibility of mutual respect and tolerance between religions and all people, we see Iran's Supreme Leader declaring "death" to all who oppose the current regime and the North Korean guy promising to drop the big one if anyone screws around with his boatload of nuclear armaments going to the Middle East.
I am of two minds here. On one side, I am tired of playing good guys and bad guys and want to just scream..."STOP! We have to create a new game--this one is killing us!" Naturally this view will provoke both sides of the conservative/liberal divide. And if history is any indication, we'll shoot the messenger. My other inclination is to fight for respect and tolerance and kill all the disrespectful and intolerant people. Unfortunately, this wouldn't leave very many of us to play the new game with.
So what's the alternative?
One possibility is we just keep trying and pray that someday human nature or a Supreme Being will save us from ourselves. Another is to give up...become resigned and just watch the current game on TV and root for the side we want to win. Whichever choice we make, it takes us off the hook for getting our hands dirty or risking some attacks from the "other side." It also opens the possibility of creating Las Vegas odds on who will win this battle or control that portion of real estate. Who knows, maybe we can create a publicly traded derivative to hedge our retirement funds against war, environmental cataclysm, nuclear annihilation and the heartbreak of psoriasis.
If I sound a little cynical today, it is because I am feeling a little cynical today. My life is about creating possibilities where none seem to exist and using breakdowns as the stepping-stones to progress and to creating breakthroughs. When I can no longer generate a possibility, then my only practical option is resignation. Cynicism and sarcasm are just cover-ups for having lost touch with a vision for the future that is worth living (and dying) for.
Fortunately, I am surrounded by people who know that I have a choice about how I relate to my moods and my "bad" days (and even my "bad weeks"). They constantly remind me that getting older doesn't have to mean giving up. They remind me that one is never too old to "get off it" and recover one's commitment to creating a future worth having and to leaving the world better than we found it. So at the end of a "bad week," I once again have the opportunity to be grateful for all the good stuff and remember that we wouldn't have much left to do if there weren't a few problems remaining. So, let's get on with it and clean up the mess before we die.
© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.