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Posted on 2014.07.18 at 19:32
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I once visited the graves on the beaches of Normandie, France.  Rows and rows of graves stretch to the horizon.  The sky was cloudy and gray above the solemn waves and I remember thinking, "this is what every leader should have to see before deciding war is the answer; this is the cost and should only be used in the direst of need to overcome the most horrific evil."  The world has forgotten the sacrifice of so many and the freedom that was so sorrowfully won.

While I choose to focus on what I can do and the positive, the darkness does not escape me.  We have become people more concerned with power, greed, and gluttony than trying to do the right thing, showing compassion, and bettering the world around us.  We let things and wealth and power separate us from the most important things in life.  We have let our children become entitled and greedy, justifying it through the hard work at the expense of others.  We seek to place blame rather than accept responsibility be it for our children, our family, our communities, our countries...to the point we cannot stop and simply shed a tear in apology at a tragedy.

When did test scores become more important than learning?  When did money become more important than improve the world around you?  When did objects become more important than people?  When did intolerance become more important than compassion?  When did violence become an answer?  When did we stop seeing people as fellow human beings?  When did the rights of others become obstacles?  When did wars become necessary to solve financial and territorial disputes?

Even at times when war is necessary it is simply heinous to so coldly cast aside the lives lost in the crossfire.  I wish I could say Russia was alone, but they aren't.  Every side is at fault.  This world feels like it's teetering on the brink of a war simply from the instability in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia.

In our society, whether you act out of fear or hate, you are perpetuating this suffering.  In the world, if you are/vote for leaders who view "them" as anything other than human beings who most likely do not want a war either, you are perpetuating this suffering.  How long before people realize we are only destroying ourselves...with every gunshot, every child's scream, every back that's turned...

It is not acceptable to turn away and claim it isn't you or doesn't affect you.  Take a stand and fight on your side for peace...we have become so focused on ourselves; a culture of "me."  How far would you get if you were the only one on the planet?  It isn't about you; it's about us.  WE are the ones who can change--start with ourselves and we will start to change the world around us.  Violence is not solved by violence; violence is solved by the refusal to continue it.  When turn away because it's "not me," "they must deserve it," "I earned my money," etc., we are turning our back on our own hearts.

And I'm not saying those that have worked hard should take care of the lazy...but no one who is trying to live their life should be struggling as much as the majority are.  Being healthy and having what you need--not necessarily what you want--without worry of it being taken from you, should not be a privilege...but right now it is.  We should not have people working full time with a degree and barely able to pay bills (modest ones) and the threat of any health concern beyond cough syrup threatens financial devastation.  That's ridiculous and is occurring solely because of greed.

If you have what you need, why do you want more?  When you buy more things, save more money, move to a bigger house, do you find lasting satisfaction?  If you lost your possessions, your money, your house...could you find happiness and survive?  Would you be thankful for your life, the wind on your face, the warmth of sunlight, the laughter of children, the smile of a stranger?  Or would you curse your existence, clinging to what you lost like prized possessions?

This world has an excess of resources that are being squandered upon a few and now there are so many countries warring with each other...but the cost of the disputes will be individual lives.  Individuals that often barely have the resources to survive.  Does that make them more expendable?  How many will be lost before the next cease fire?  How many more will be altered from the remnants the "countries" don't clean up after the war?

Do not confuse the right to live your life freely as a life free of consequences for your actions...or lack of them.

We have forgotten our past and we cling so tightly to what hurts us out of fear of losing it...it's time to let go, open our eyes, and heal ourselves and this world.  Our children are desperate for the healing and hope that there is something beyond the conflict they grew up with...I see it in my students.  Look at what they are drawn to, anime, video games, etc.  Yes, on the surface they are entertainment...but have you spoken to them about it?  It usually goes much deeper than a superficial "I like" or "he's cute."  They are drawn to the strength, the escape, the beauty, the social understanding, the connection to a character...

There is no "us" or "them;"  only "we."  While we cannot heal all of today's wounds, we can plant the seeds that will, leaving the task of remembering and cultivating them to the future...and we can start with standing up to our leaders vying for control of us, and free ourselves from the thinking that we are separate, different, better, and happier as we are.   We need to let go of our greed, our gluttony, and most importantly our fear.  We must believe in ourselves.

I have hope that one day all children can play from dawn to dusk without worry, that parents have what they need for their families, that we have necessary healthcare, that we speak face to face, that we smile to strangers, that we respect others...no matter what race, ethnicity, religion, orientation, gender, age, socio-economic status, or profession.  I want to see the adults dancing in the fields, the children playing, the elderly laughing...that is what we are capable of as human beings.  But it's our choice...

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