So I was sitting briefly in the staff waiting room before starting my shift, and a nurse was watching CNN. In a span of five minutes, I saw footage of rioting in Greece (over economic troubles), political unrest in Britain, humanitarian needs in Haiti, police hunting for an infamous serial killer in the States, reforms the Feds need to make in order to avoid accidentally letting a terrorist into the free Western world, and so on and on and on.
At one point, I turned to the nurse (who was calmly sitting there, eating grapes and spitting out the seeds), and said, "The world is just getting worse and worse".
Well, she must have been completely oblivious/totally engrossed with her seed spitting, because she replied, "Why do you think that?"
After staring at her blankly for a couple seconds, I said, "Well, look at the news and all the unrest world wide...How much longer can our world last like this? What will our children live through if it's already in such a downward spiral?"
A brief silence followed, punctuated by more seeds being spat out, and she asked matter-of-factly, "Are you scared?"
Am I scared? What an interesting question...
I have found myself afraid of many things in the past, mainly situations beyond my control or influence. Yet, despite those problems being uncontrollable, I would still harbor wild fears, which were at times crippling.
Who hasn't woken up in the middle night, or tossed and turned unable to sleep, financial burdens weighing on your mind? What mother hasn't anxiously checked the time, wondering why the child is an hour late home from school, possible scenarios that frighten and leave them breathless unavoidably running through their minds? Am I the only one who has walked home from work later at night and felt a nervousness when passing certain people?
That is, the world we live. We're plagued with fears, with the possibility of disaster or trauma playing out in our often overactive imaginations. In fact, many people would say that they avoid turning on their televisions, radios, or reading the paper, because all that you'll see or hear is bad news.
So isn't it ultimately human to have these wild fears? Aren't we all prone to worrying about what could happen? And what was my reaction to her question? Does the idea of international unrest frighten me? Rioting? Famines? Nuclear warfare? Pandemics and epidemics? How do I, how do you respond when you really think about those things and probability of them affecting your life?
Well first, I don't want to discount the issues that are exploding about us. There are huge problems that have no remedy, including the clashing of cultures and beliefs. What we should do, is be responsible are much as we can be. Our carbon footprint--how are we ecologically affeecting Planet Earth? If we have financially, are we giving to those in need around us? We should not ignore the needs of those around us in order to remain ignorant about world issues. Utopia is simply a dream or a vision that will never be attained in our lifetime, so how will we deal with that fact? Do we bury ourselves in our own lives and avoid reality? Do we seek to find comfort in material possessions while many around us go without? What is your personal response to the reality of our world in need? What are you doing to make a difference?
Secondly...ultimately we cannot have fear for our futures or possible disasters we might live through. Why should we live in a perpetual states of "what ifs", when there is no guarantee that we will be faced with insurmountable issues? We can't. There needs to be hope in our lives, and there needs to be faith that regardless of what we might eventually face, we have our lives to the best of our capability. We have done all we can to help those around us, and we are being all we can be.
Finally, most importantly, my exhortation--live now. You don't know what will happen. You don't know how much time you have left in your life. You might walk out of your door one day and never return. You might face a tragedy that will leave you stunned and your whole world changed irrevocably. What you do with your time that you have now is what's important. Often we put off what we want to do, or what we need to do, because we think there will be a tomorrow and a tomorrow after that. What if there isn't? What if what we have now is all we will ever have?
This is some weird scare tactic in order to get an emotional response. It's just a reminder that our lives are fragile and we are not immortal. We can dwell in what might happen to us...we need to live now.