Warning: This is not a warm and fuzzy, folks. The modern housewife is going to get serious. If you are looking for my folksy, happy mom stories, you’ll have to tune in tomorrow – tonight, my inner activist is coming out.
I’m sitting here, predictably, on my porch this evening. The crickets are chirping, the night is calm, and I have all my basic needs met. I’m not worrying that an air strike is coming, I’m not concerned that some military group is going to knock down my door, I’m not anxious over where my family is going to sleep tonight. I have never been held at gunpoint. I have never been assaulted. I have never known true hunger, had hypothermia, or gone without clean drinking water. My life is consistently pretty easy, in the big picture of things. I am blessed – in ways I have never really thought to consider. Many of you reading this are probably similarly blessed.
However, tonight, in cities, towns, and villages across the world, residents are taking cover in bomb shelters, finding shelter under newspapers or crawling into boxes, going to sleep hungry and thirsty, and being shaken down by armed personnel. They are terrified, fearing for their lives, no matter what hateful thing assaults them: starvation, disease, and even their fellow man. This suffering is nothing new to them: in some parts of the world, it’s standard operating procedure. Fear is what they wake up to and what they close their eyes to at night.
ISIS is knitting together a kingdom of terror in Iraq and Syria; bombs are falling in Israel and Gaza, and this side of the Atlantic, Ferguson is a sea of violence and confusion. How could I sit down to write a story about warmth and happiness on a night like tonight? How could I peddle happy words when so many are suffering needlessly? How can I think about a sunrise tomorrow with the pitch black all around us today?
I am troubled, dear readers, by the strife and hatred I am seeing in this modern world. However, I also am troubled by the fact that I have been ignoring it for so long. I have been silent for so long. I, as a human being, have an obligation to speak up when I see wrongdoing. I have a duty to speak for those who cannot, and I have a platform to do so. It may only be my little corner of the world, it may be from the comfort and ease of my little life, but I must say it: What are we doing to ourselves?
Humanity is one of the most foul things in creation. We kill, we maim, we hurt and destroy – to what end? There is no good reason to oppress and terrify another human being. There is no good reason for these terrible things to go on.
Humanity is also one of the greatest things on this planet. We have a great capacity for love, bravery, courage, creativity…all the things that truly matter. If only we could realize that we are all people, we all live and breathe, and walk the Earth. We all have families, happiness, sorrows, joys, and beliefs. We all have passions, struggles, and things that make us unique – that is what makes life all the more beautiful. That is what makes life worth living. Without diversity, different outlooks, and different cultures, the world would be a bland and barren place, devoid of happiness and creativity. Does that sound like some place you would like to live?
It might be easy to look at these difficult situations, these atrocities and horror stories, studying from a distance, and think “This has nothing to do with me. My life is fine, my kids are fine, and it’s nothing to worry about.” But, my friends, I tell you: anything going on on the face of this planet has everything to do with you and me. As silly as it may seem, it brings to me the scene in “Lord of the Rings: Two Towers” when Merry and Pippin are pleading with the Ents, the animated and ancient tree-beings:
“Treebeard: We Ents cannot hold back this storm. We must weather such things as we have always done.
Merry: How can that be your decision?
Treebeard: This is not our war.
Merry: But you’re part of this world, aren’t you? You must help!”
We are a part of this world, and any act of evil, and pain or suffering, any deeds committed under the sun are of grave importance to us. They shape our lives, this day, tomorrow, and eons into the future. We are very much a part of this world, no matter how far removed we feel.
This disconnect, this occupation with viral videos, celebrity gossip, and inane garbage needs to stop: starting with me. The first step to combating ignorance is knowledge. I implore you, as I implore myself, to watch the news, read articles, and gather information from many sources to remain as involved and aware as possible. I am going to thank The Lord every day for the bounty he has given me, but I am also going to pray desperately for those who suffer. If you don’t have a faith, then send positive thoughts or whatever it is you do towards those folks in need.
I also think it is very important to get back to the basic, golden rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you don’t want to be hit, don’t hit someone else. However, I’m going to take that a step further. Let’s lead by example; let’s lead through kindness and compassion. Let’s give up our quarrels, our prejudice, and our self centered worlds – and start giving love. If someone is struggling, help them out. If someone is troubled, give comfort. These simple things we learned as children can make all the difference. These efforts may seem small. They may seem insignificant. But think of how much of a difference it makes to that one person, each day, as you touch their lives. Think of it this way: if a hobbit can convince a mighty tree Ent to join in fighting back evil, think what you can do.
If we don’t do something now, our world is lost. Evil is insidious, creeping like a dark cloud, and encompassing all. The world we live in is imperiled, from the faraway lands of Syria and Israel to hometown USA. If we don’t wake up and realize what is happening, it may be too late to turn back.
In the words of a hobbit, “There won’t be a shire, Pip.”
Count your blessings, become informed, and reach out a hand to do some good. At least we can say we’ve tried.
Don’t give up – together, we can make a difference.
To read more of Katrina’s reflections and insights on “The Life and Times of a Modern Housewife” please visit our website at www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Katrina’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.