It is easy to write about the opportunity that comes with each dawn. I find myself enjoying the quiet wonder of a Southern California morning. During this time of the year, the morning air is crisp, bordering on a frost, and the skies are clear. I can see snow capped mountains, people heading for work, and birds indulging themselves in feeders. Falling into a mood of wonder, awe, and hopefulness is easy. The difficulty is that I know there is more to the world than what I can see.
As I check in with friends, there is a clear sense of fear! The markets are filled with uncertainty. Everyone wonders who is hiring and why. There is a clear consensus that we are in an unsafe world. Terror, in many different forms, can strike without warning. To quote a good friend, “we take the subway to work. We choose to face death with every trip.”
We are not the first generation to face this nightmare. Old and older generations have faced living hells in their time. In one, there one “the time came for Herod to bring him [an innocent] out for the kill.” (Acts 12.6a) In other generation, the people in power manipulated markets, squandered trust, and exploited the weak for their own purposes (1907 comes to mind). People in positions of power were abusing, even killing others for their advantage.
I know there are those that find it easy to ignore the ugly side of life. After all, it is not personal for them. Others are struggling with the fear of the unknown. It is someone else that is in pain. Hunger, exploitation, and overwhelming situations are outside of my boundaries. I can understand this response; there is far too much chaos in every life. Yet, I cannot accept it.
I would offer the following response. Accepting the full story life today provides an opportunity to make a difference. The reality of beauty mixed with impending horror need not draw us into a personal self-imposed darkness. Knowing gives each the opportunity to compassionately respond.