I have had to take some weeks off to focus on school assignments and work; and the fact that I have had too much going on in the brain to write something logical.
It has been an emotionally draining time these last few weeks. Not just here in South Africa but globally. Watching the news is like getting your daily dose of misery and yet it is impossible to ignore. You all have heard about the Ebola crisis I’m sure; although I wonder if you are aware that Ebola makes an appearance every year about this time somewhere on this continent yet never has it had so much airplay as it has had this year (God knows why), the people that died of it last year and the year before where not given as much attention. And yes I’m sure you are aware that while the world has been frantic about this ‘new’ disease; malaria, cholera, malnutrition and AIDS related illness have continued to kill thousands around the world regardless of whether they get featured for an hour on CNN or not. Ebola will be back next year, and the year after that just like it always has.
Also in these past few weeks we have watched and have had endless debates about Israel and Palestine. Who’s right and who’s wrong, watched many bloodied people and corpses on TV and online, rockets firing like carnival fireworks, death having a party! In Iraq we have heard reports of the persecution of Christian and Yazidi people; ethnic cleansing and plenty of bloodshed. Heard stories of children being cut in half, be-headings and crucifixions of those refusing to renounce their faith. Again, none of these are new or strange events, they have been around for decades and will probably continue to do so.
I think the most gruesome for me has been the killing of babies in South Africa. For awhile it seemed every week there was a murder; stray bullet, botched hijacking, body parts burnt beyond recognition, every time you turn on the news there is a little angelic face and weeping parents, angry communities and helpless policemen with even more helpless politicians standing around looking as gloomy as they can. Again, sadly, this is nothing new in our country (or in the world); murder, rape, mutilation even of the young and innocent is not the latest craze, nor will it ever not be.
Lots more has happened in this time, falling planes, horrific accidents, hurricanes and earthquakes, the tragic and sense-less loss of a great legend (Robin Williams). This is why I found myself unable to think, unable to process all these things. I have found that this is a common reaction, as if we are so exposed to death and senseless violence that we almost walk around shell-shocked; numb and silent. Whatever the reaction, I have been very discouraged by all this. And no, I haven’t got any bright cheery verses or words of wisdom to make it any better. I really wish I did.
On Monday, as I was getting ready for bed (not that I have been able to sleep very well lately), it occurred to me that I have been carrying all this pain around; thanks to my daily dosage of misery – even if I try my best to avoid watching the news. The words that came to mind were ” its as if disappointment has become my middle name!” No matter how difficult, we have to try and find a way to live in our world instead of simply accepting what is going on, right?
Take the example of nature; if you go down to a sewage dump today or a graveyard, you will always find something growing. Out of the polluted, dirty, death-filled soil – life grows and thrives. There must be a reason for this right? So maybe, in all the rotten things that are going on in the world we live in, we can look for life? For growth? For what is persevering? Otherwise we will lose the will to live. Maybe one day at a time – one life at a time – we can find hope?
I surely pray so, not just for us but for the coming generation that will doubtless have to deal with a little more than the pain and suffering we have today for surely these things have been around long before now and seem to have taken root.
How will they cope? Maybe that is the life and growth that we can look for and help to thrive.