It’s lunchtime and I closed my office door. I feel sad today. Nothing happened to me. I’m blessed in an embarrassment of ways. And yet, some days just seem to sit on top of me like a stone.
The world is too much on those days. The multitude of wrongs we do to each other are too much. The wars. Poverty. Racism. Violence. Homelessness. Hate. I hear, over and over again, that I have to let it go. I hear, over and over again, that I have to be part of the change I want to see. I’m caught somewhere in the middle of it all today.
I’ve been watching recently as, across the US – and even locally – there is a move afoot once again to ban certain books. From the cheap seats, it feels like fear masquerading as family values. But this is really about history and the truth. Or more like, the history of truth – which is ruthless. It cuts us open and shoves our faces in the mud. It forces us to look reality in the eye and deal with it. But that’s for other people. Not us.
I watched recently as a Bill, which will prohibit teaching students that certain races or sexes are privileged or oppressed, passed the Florida Senate.
I’ve been keeping tabs on the debate in Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee, as lawmakers there are in various states of banning discussion of LGBTQ sexuality and gender identity in elementary schools through ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bills.
In Tennessee, I learned recently, a 10-year-old can’t read banned books, but if a proposed new anti-LGBTQ Bill passes, they’ll be able to get married – so long as their union is between a man and a woman.
In Ukraine, the horrors perpetrated by Russian soldiers are on display daily. People the world over are morally outraged by them and rightly so. But, while all of the media’s focus is there, other equally outrageous moral atrocities pass under our radar.
In Afghanistan, millions of people living in poverty are facing imminent starvation. In Myanmar, the military continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya minority. In Ethiopia, a conflict that started in 2020 has led to thousands of casualties and displaced more than 2 million people. In our own country, we dig up more murdered Indigenous children each day. It barely makes the news now. And no one is held to account.
We live in a service and information economy where awesome technological powers, and our media, are in the hands of very few. The weight of the world is splashed before our eyes and ears in 30-second soundbites and 300-character bursts – 24-7. And, despite all of it – or, maybe because of all of it – people are losing the ability to see and set their own agendas. And to knowledgeably question those in authority.
The slow decay of substantive, factual news content, and the constant presentation of pseudoscience and misinformation through media – social media too – has left a lot of people unable to distinguish between what feels good and what is true.
On these sad days, I feel like that’s me, too.
Whole universes can fit inside my head – and maybe that’s the problem. Our heads may be big enough to hold the weight of the oceans and the twinkling stars, and every god and devil there ever was – but I don’t think the human psyche is designed for the full comprehension of all of the atrocious and oppressive things in the world. I think it defends itself, and us, from seeing the truth a lot of the time. It makes sure we never fully understand what’s going on around us. Because, if we did, it would be impossible to carry the weight of it all.
So, on these days, I try to remember that somewhere under there – under the weight of it all – the weight of the world is love. I get up in the morning and make a tea. I read a little. I check to see if President Zelensky made it through the night. I wrap an old dog up like a burrito in the covers because that’s so much better than making the bed. I write some. I think about another brown dog’s boundless joy over every little thing. I remember that our kids are all making it in their own ways. I go to a good job that I love. I try to be a good and kind person who stands up for others, and for me. I come home, at the end of the day, to my best friend. And I think about all the good things still to come.
I decide to let the weight of the world be love.
1 thought on “the weight of the world is love”
“I don’t think the human psyche is designed for the full comprehension of all of the atrocious and oppressive things in the world.” Yep it can break your heart. It does break my heart. So today I went for a long walk along the Grand River with one of the kindest, funniest, humans on earth. It’s the only true antidote I know.
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