For those who pay attention to world affairs, it is a constant struggle to not become cynical of our world. I know I do. To fight this off I remind myself of the individual people involved, and what a close-knit global community we are today. But this comes at a cost. I trade cynicism for heartbreak and confusion. Heartbroken by the pain and confused by the hate.
As I write this the French are reeling from a widespread terrorist attack in Paris. The death toll there is over 150 and likely to climb. Today yet another attack in Israel, with a father and son being shot and killed in front of their home. The Syrian Civil War rages on with not two, not three, but FOUR domestic factions. In the chaos of that conflict far too many have been killed. and how many more homeless? Orphaned? Widowed?
In comparison, the troubles we face at home here in the U.S. do not seem as heavy. Politics are a joke. We get offended at the smallest of things. We lash out at our law enforcement officers, forgetting that they are human beings just like us. We can’t seem to agree about the facts surrounding Planned Parenthood. Even closer to home here in Missouri our flagship university is tearing itself apart due to racial tensions, real and imagined, coming from both sides. And everywhere from the West Bank to Mizzou, from D.C. to the (now dimmed) City of Light we reject open dialogue and lack simple compassion for one another. I could allow myself to become angry at our shortcomings as a human race. Instead I cried a little bit (okay, a lot), and prayed fervently.
So where is the light? Where’s the happy ending to the story? Well, that comes down to you and me. Mr Rogers said that when things got really bad to look for the people who are helping others. Tonight I look for them, and I strive to be one myself. My being in Columbia would not calm events there. I alone cannot stop a civil war that has been going on for four years now. Nor can I comfort the mourning in Paris this night. But I can pray. So I pray for my brothers and sisters throughout the world; that we may learn to speak truth, feel compassion, and above all recognize the value of each person around us. For if we forget that we as individuals are intrinsically good, then we may lose faith in humanity all together. I hold on to that. We are all capable of good.
Peace, Love, and Happiness…