Monday, June 29, 2015

When the World Weighs Me Down

Last week wasn’t a good week. Hell, in a way, the last few weeks haven’t been good. It seemed that everything I read online was bad news. A pressure settled onto my shoulders, hope drained out of me. How was it possible that after all this time, the world was still in this state? Why are we still having problems with racism and feminism and constantly attacking one another? Has history taught us nothing?

It was depressing. It was scary. It was disheartening.

I felt the full effects of all this terrible news last week, and it made me want to crawl into my bed and cover my head until the world got its act together. I wanted to weep for all the injustices and do something so that my kids didn’t have to deal with the dysfunction. I wanted to make everything better for them.

My boys were in the living room, playing videos and watching Youtube videos, and I thought about their lives and how their world revolved around family, friends, and sports; about how they had some inkling of how cruel the world could be (they’ve had to deal with bullies); and what lay ahead of them. How awful would their future be? What types of cruelty would they have to deal with? 

I thought about how they tell me about their bad days and how someone was mean to them and how upset they would be and my heart would break because I couldn’t make it better for them.  But after venting their frustration and anger, they would move on.  They wouldn’t let the situation define them.

It occurred to me that as horrible as the world can be, it can also be a beautiful and amazing place. It can be kind. I thought about the things we did together—going to the movies, snowmobiling, or just watching TV together—and I smiled. I thought about how they are often protected and insulated from hardships. They’ve never known hunger or war. And that made me thankful.

If I focus on the negative, all I see is negative. I reminded myself that I get to choose what I read, what I focus on, and it doesn’t have to be terrible.

The horrible, awful things that occur in the world can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. That’s part of the reason they haven’t changed. They need to be addressed—no matter how depressing they are. It’s hard, it’s challenging, and it creates emotions and situations that are often uncomfortable.

But there are positive things that come out of tragedies and hate. These are the things that I need to focus on. These are what I need to share with my kids. The world can be depressing, but I can’t let it get me down. If I stop believing and hoping that something good will happen, it will.

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