Finding a Path Through the Chaos

I don’t often write about current events because it can get political which distracts from the universal quality of the re-booting experience, but today I am. One of the most salient characteristics of a re-booter is the effort we make to maintain perspective and continue to feel hopeful about life. Some days that’s easier to do than others. So much has happened in the last week that my thoughts are muddled—none of it to me, personally, but all of it impacting how I feel, making me wonder whether the world is spinning out of control. The struggle to maintain a common sense balance when part of us teeters on the brink of overwhelm is something we all understand. What is the point of fretting over developments about which we have no control, and yet, their import weighs on us, clouding our days.

 

What should do we do?

 

Ranging from personal to global matters, over the past week, I feel as though I’ve withstood a series of body blows. I’ve watched as my dad struggles with his sadness over friends who have died or are hospitalized for long durations. The cold wind of aging frightens him and I stand by as his capabilities to manage life become less robust. Then, there’s the quagmire of conflicting beliefs, allegations, and knee jerk responses that has hijacked higher education as illustrated by events unfolding at the University of Missouri and Yale. The debates swirling around about freedom of speech versus creating a “safe space” arise from the litany of grievance and identity politics is strangling so much of this nation, creating a distraction from the business of governance, learning, and the exercise of critical thinking. People in Syria and Afghanistan have reason to worry about finding a safe space, not kids on university campuses. I know, first hand, how these bouts of righteous indignation devolve into scream fests of hyperbole, hate, and overreaction. And then, of course, there’s the murder of all those poor people in Paris who were simply enjoying a Friday night, living their lives. My heart breaks at this tragedy.

 

The pace at which life can move leaves us gasping for air, hoping we misheard.

 

In an effort to regain proportion, I remind myself that it does nobody any good to sit around feeling despondent and helpless. Our kids take their cues from us, watching what we do, how we behave during troubled and confusing times. What are you modeling for them?

 

In my quest to retain perspective, I remind myself that we live in a world where news travels in a flash makes everything feel that much more immediate, but the truth remains that most people in Paris are alive and well. It’s also true that for as much as college students appear to be pampered, politically correct, whiny babies, not all of them are. Eventually, they will step into the world and, at some point, grow to realize that reality isn’t much interested in whether or not their very particular sensitivities are attended to and that they can rise above the onslaught of disappointment or insults which all of us experience at one time or another. Perhaps they may even get to a point as to see these struggles as a proving ground of sorts, preparing them to withstand the rigors of the real world. And thirdly, I remind myself that as sobering and lonely as it must be to watch friends and peers succumb to the mortal coil, it is the guaranteed end of all our journeys. Besides, my dad is not alone. I am by his side to help, to cheer, and to distract. Re-booters recognize the irony of the fact that each previous generation feared the world was going to hell in a hand basket, and yet, here we are—making discoveries, babies, and laughter where we can…

 

I think that’s the best we can do. That and pray.

 

 

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