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Living in Interesting and Challenging Times

Each day, I remind myself, “We live in interesting times.” A second breath adds, “We live in frightening and uncertain times.” Can we depend on those in power to make positive changes? Maybe and maybe not. Can unimportant, unrecognized people — such as retired senior citizens hope to make even the most minuscule impact? Possibly but probably not.

Foolishly, I suppose, I think that the only genuine answer comes through living from a space of love. My closest friends suggest how silly I sound. I am reminded of the person seen throwing starfish back into the ocean. “Hey, man, don’t you know you aren’t making a difference?” The reply, as he threw another struggling form back to the water, “I made a difference for that one.” I too still want to make a difference.

So, for those of us who worry about:

  • vouchers robbing low-income schools of revenue,

  • guns overtaking sanity,

  • conditions that continue to stack the decks against minority populations,

  • wealthy augmenting their troves of riches while those in the middle income and below falter,

  • destruction of the environment — the question remains, “What can we do?”

We can care enough to write real letters (in addition to emails) to our representatives. We can send comments to our local newspapers. We can attend meetings designed to promote communication across economic and racial barriers. We can assist refuge families as they build their new lives.

Even more important, we can give up hate toward leaders who trample our personal values. We can commit to common courtesy and yes – even to maintaining a positive outlook. If the possibility exists for constructive adjustments to occur, I believe changes will come from ordinary people who state facts (minus spin) and who act with integrity even in the middle of turmoil.

Today, even in our conflicted society, we find ourselves once again celebrating Christmas. Maybe this year we can remember that a baby arrived whose life and later teachings altered the world. I suspect He would have thrown those brittle, dying starfish back in the ocean. Can we do less?


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