Friday, July 20, 2012

What is Our World Coming To?

I awoke today to disturbing headlines, my expectations of a peaceful morning suddenly shattered. Another senseless act of violence has rocked the nation. Before I even bow my head in silent prayer for all those involved, I shake my head in disgust and wonder, What is our world coming to?

Then I pause. I rethink my question. Our world. If it is ours, then it is partly mine. And if our world is coming to something bad, then it is our responsibility to fix it. And if the responsibility is ours, isn't it also mine?

My immediate reaction to my own thought is one of resistance. Yeah, but what can I do? I am bound by my insignificance in a world so big with forces so strong. What action of mine could possibly make a difference in places so far away full of people I am unlikely to ever meet face to face? Besides, I’m one of the good ones. I’m part of the solution. The problem lies in others.

With that attitude, I am likely to respond with my typical reaction to news of violence: lock my doors, watch my back, and live in fear. That fear turns to suspicion. The suspicion turns to anger - anger toward those whose deliberate acts of violence rob me of my peace. I start to find faults, point fingers, place blame. Suddenly, I am living in fear of the very world I helped create. A part of the problem now lies in me. My actions, my words, my attitude, my choices, they all matter. They all send an energy floating through the air, an energy that has the ability to affect people I may never meet face to face in places far away. Suddenly, I realize that I am not insignificant at all.

I am not insignificant because I believe in the interconnectedness of every person on earth by the power of the life-giving energy that flows through each of us simultaneously. Good or bad. Rich or poor. Family member or total stranger. That’s why no event can occur in isolation. That’s why our problems are referred to as “global issues” no matter the country from which they originate. That’s why we shed tears for people we don’t know in circumstances we’ve never experienced first-hand. That’s why something you do or say today can impact a place you’ve never seen full of people you’ve never met. It really is a small, small world.

 We all carry a responsibility to be part of the solution. That responsibility doesn’t always have to be carried out in mission work, worldwide travel, or hefty donations to have a significant impact. Don’t ever underestimate the power of love shown through the simplest gesture - a smile, a kind word, a helping hand. Don’t ever believe that the negative energy emitted by angry words, disrespectful comments, and sour attitudes doesn’t penetrate deep into the heart of society. And don’t ever say, what is our world coming to, while looking out the window. Say it while looking in the mirror.

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