When I was younger, just hearing the words to John Lennon’s “Imagine” made me pause, reflect and cry inside. Thinking about the lyrics today has the same effect, and everytime something horrible happens in the world, his voice and those words, those perfect imperfect words, echo in the record player in my head (yes, I said record player).
North Korea just performed a nuclear test (reports still unconfirmed as I write this). Lettuce was just linked today to cases of E-coli, in addition to spinach links. Last week three disturbing deadly school schootings across America. Dubya is still in office. Each day we lose more and more Americans and innocent Iraqi civilians in a war that is sparking more terror in the world. Corporations have all gone to shit, and so has our beloved Earth. It’s a mad, mad world, and since having children, I realize that I no longer think of how these crises affect me but how it will alter their lives in the future. What can we do today to make sure they have a future?
In high school, I met a couple who decided not to have children because they couldn’t bear the thought of bringing a child into such a horror wrought world. When people talk of easier yesteryears, I think they have their blinders on and are slipping into amnesia mode. There were no easy yesteryears. Every generation has its crises, its wars, its seemingly incurable illnesses, its flawed and failed leaders. I do not believe the times in which we live are any more difficult than when I was a child, or when my mother was a child, or when my great-grandmother was a child. The issues merely morph into other, more modern issues, and humanity once again must decide how to handle, how to cope, how to persevere and move forward for the good of humanity.
I admit that sometimes I lay awake at night and cry just thinking about the world events of the day. I’ve been called a hard ass and a tough cookie, but I am pretty much a sissy when it comes to these things. Sometimes the amount of pain and suffering I see happening all around us hurts so very god damn fucking much and sometimes what hurts more is knowing that it will not take one person, but millions, and it will not take one year, but lifetimes, before thorough effective change can happen. And by then, there will be other crises for the world to face.
On a daily basis I have come to make peace with the fact that our world, our leaders, and we – ourselves – are permanently flawed. I face each day knowing I have no idea what the day will hold, knowing that I can’t protect my son and my husband and my friends and family as I wish I could. I live each day just trying to do good, to bring good into the lives of others, and appreciating all of the good that others have done for me and my family. I have shitty days, but no matter what, my problems in life in general aren’t as big as the problems of the world, so I live each day taking time to regret, be sad for, and be pissed off about the little things that happen in my own life…but then at the end of each day, I just let go. Who gives a shit if I was late on a car payment or totally made an ass of myself at a conference or fed my child too many Goldfish that day when somewhere in the world a mother lost a child, and somewhere else in the world a family lost their home and all of their belongings, and somewhere else in the world a family is praying for a drop of rain so they will have water again. Perspective.
Still, deep inside I ridiculously wish for a day when all is right in the world. When every single living breathing human on earth can co-exist peacefully with the environment and other creatures. For one day, when there are no murders, no natural disasters, no accidents, no lies, no malice, no evil entities in power, no bruised knees, no prejudices, no judgments, and no frowns. Just one day. I pray that my children are alive to see that day. I dream that they are stewards of the hope and positive action that will steer the world toward that day. That they will be one of the millions who decide to band together and make that day happen. I hope that they grow up understanding that the world is flawed, but that each day holds value, truth and happiness, and most of all, purpose.