Thursday, July 9, 2009
I Have Decided... Cocooning is Healthy!
In an effort to be less insulated, a few months ago I decided to venture out and read news items and the on-line comments that readers/viewers make about them. During this time, there is one thing I've discovered: there are a lot of mean-spirited, spiteful people out there, Democratic and Republican, Independent and Green, gay and straight, conservative and liberal, left and right, smart and dumb, progressive and racist.
And it astonishes me and makes me want to pull my head back into my shell and disengage. Because if I don't, I might catch the fever and go as insane as so much of the rest of the human pack.
Stuff like that feeds on itself. Instead of listening, reading and learning when we hear a contrary opinion, we all crouch in defensive/offensive modes and decide to "make 'em pay for their outrage." Or, at least, I tend to want to do that (but don't, thank the good Lord!) whenever I hear someone (gleefully and with malice-aforethought) lambaste an on-line opinion with which I agree.
My response -- even after counting to ten -- is often, "What the hell is the matter with people, that they have to bash others who don't happen to agree with them?" Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree and behaving civilly to each other? Was it ever a reality, or have I just been living in a bubble of my own making my whole life?
It astonishes me that people can't disagree agreeably. No wonder the world is in the mess it's in! What has happened to mutual respect and honoring? Did we ever have it (except for a very few)?
I know there has been mud slung in politics since the beginning of the Republic, so I'm not even talking about politics right now. It just seems that with any topic or issue with two sides, there are those on both sides who dedicate themselves to being creepy about it... treating the other side like crap (belittling them, etc.) while getting their own opinion out there.
It stinks. It just stinks. I have decided that gazing out into the world and engaging it is painful and not worth the effort.
I want to love humankind. When I read or see stuff like this going on, it makes me want to divorce my species and take up with some other... one that has more scruples. There are many of them: elephants, dolphins, the great apes, the lesser apes...
Someone taught me when I was little that we are an evolved species, placed higher than the rest. The species that established this questionable hierarchy was, of course, the human species. And I can see where it might be true. We're apparently the only species that can utterly affect the planet (for good or for ill) with our intellect, prowess, and powers.
Going back into prehistory, it was God who deemed us the apex of His creation (at least here on Earth). After venturing out into the world of news and commentary, I can't help but think He should be seriously re-considering the hierarchy now, when He sees how feebly most people regard and abide by his Golden Rule and the ten commandments.
He must be really, really disappointed. I certainly am. As His so-called "image-bearers," there must be a carnival funhouse mirror standing between Him and us -- because I don't see His image or His love in many of us out here.
I like my cocoon, the one that my mother, DeForest Kelley, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandella, Gandhi, the Holy Spirit, and others wrapped around me to help me feel safe and beloved.
It must be frightening out there. Just a few glimpses, and I'm convinced: I'm happier right here, wrapped in the love of people and memories that reflect God's grace and mercy.
You can keep the world. There's very little I see in it worth having.
But a better one is right around the corner!