04 May 2016

Two things to hold

It's a rainy, grey day and I look a mess. No time to put on anything but mascara and my hair is already coming out of the pins I used to try to keep it out of my face. A new neighbor cat thought today was a good day to start claiming our front stoop, and so he peed on one of the two new bags of cloth diapers that had just been delivered. In the short drive to drop off Jonathan to his grandma's, I saw no less than 10 drivers do totally ridiculous and dangerous things. And the bus I'm now on sounds like it's middle is about rusted off its hinges, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

All of this is of course to establish that my mood has often better. It is also, however, to preface an explanation of one of the things I believe that as humans - and even more so, as Christians - we will and should grapple with most of the days of our lives: How do we see all of the frustration, pain and evil that should be evident to us each day and still remain hopeful - even joyful? 

I personally believe that we should strive to "hold" both things (in our minds or awareness: choose not to ignore one to the deficit of the other) as much of the time as possible. Not because we should dwell on the yucky stuff in the world, but because it should be the motivating factor - the fire under our asses, so-to-speak - behind a hope that we CAN make the world a better place, and a subsequent adjustment to our actions. 

My work forces me to think and read constantly about animal ethics. If you read more than a few pages in any book that addresses the topic, you will come across some degree of discussion about the horrors of factory farming and/or animal experimentation. (Unless it is a 100% philosophical work, in which case these issues are not always a constant focus.) I don't want to get into those topics here, but only use the fact that I am often thinking about them to bring up the way that this holding, this balancing of the awareness of evil and our attempting to at least not aggravate it, it reaches every aspect of our lives down to the food you choose to put in your (and your children and pets') mouth.

Knowing that God made this world and that at any moment could choose to eradicate all evil, or just everything and everyone, the whole deal, is what I am trying to cling to as I constantly push back on a feeling of help- and hopelessness when I have a day like today, see how so many people act based only on anger and emotions (=mot considering others' contexts, only thinking of how X action affects me in an inconvenient way), or just simply think about the fact that I have a 200-250 page dissertation to write! He COULD fix it, if He wanted to. He's GOD. So why waste any length of time wallowing? Does it stop the cat marking his territory, or the idiot who absolutely cannot drive just 10 mph over, and also won't suffer through the hardship of establishing his lane and getting over more than 50 feet before his exit? Nope. All I can do is clean up the pee and focus on driving safely. We can't do life for other people or animals. Our society is so focused on do-it-yourself and finding the right solution to your problems, that we've completely lost the plot on the fact that some things are not perfect, and that that is just fine. We should strive to be kind, to respect and love each other, and to think critically about where the things we eat, wear and use might have come from. 

These thoughts are a bit jumbled, but I urge you today to stop worrying about why things or people suck so badly - most of the time it accomplishes absolutely nothing! Let's try to make the world better, let's hold on to hope without losing sight of the reason we need to.

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