All on the front page of our local newspaper –the joyful birth of a New Year’s Day baby, the tragic death of a young father, and the continued tradition of generosity of a down-to-earth, locally focused senior couple. My emotions go up, down, up again and then leave me feeling slightly melancholy. It’s as if my heart can’t settle into position.
Worldwide news leaves me in no better state. Unemployment across our nation drops a bit (I’m encouraged), the global economy is recovering faster than expected (maybe there is hope) –and then I learn about a 22-year-old gunman in Arizona who severely wounds a young congresswoman, kills not only a federal judge but an innocent 9-year old girl and four others, and leaves 14 more wounded. How on earth can I process such shockingly senseless violence? My melancholy turns into despair.
Today is my son’s birthday. Not long ago he posted a comment on my blog where I write about experiencing a simple act of kindness (see Blue Hour Civility).
The world and its problems are so big, and I am so small. I feel the weight of it overpower the limit of such strength as is mine to muster. I suffer existential angst; fear leading to anger, as it seems too many are burned up with vicious ignorance. But these moments, these glimpses of good, reminded me that there are those who are ready to help, ready to offer simple decency. In them, in us, lives hope. Blue Hour, indeed!
My reply was written as much to myself as to my son:
Remember, also, that a lowly stick positioned carefully over a small rock can leverage the movement of a much larger bolder that would otherwise be immovable. One dictionary describes leverage this way: “strategic advantage; power to act effectively; relatively small groups can sometimes exert immense political leverage”. I believe Blue Hour civility is one of many silent leverages working to counteract malevolence.
In the ongoing wake of good news mixed in with overwhelmingly dreadful news, my heart chooses HOPE. A definition for hope in the Encarta World English Dictionary reads, “likelihood of success: a chance that something desirable will happen or be possible.”
Happy Birthday, Son! I love you and wish for you much success in the coming year –and that you will discover many desirable things are indeed possible. Especially if you leverage your perceived smallness wisely!
I know you will… you always have.