Wednesday 18 February 2015

Painted Into a Corner

The other day I made a glib comment on facebook about the horrible weather a friend is having that lives on the other side of the country. It isn’t as if I don’t care how cold it is or how high the snow is piled on roofs, it is just that there isn’t a thing I can do about it. Even if I were there, I couldn’t do anything about it. There is a good possibility that I would just be thankful I wasn’t having the same problem.

Generally, my way of dealing with tragedy is to make light of it. I suppose that my thinking is if you are laughing, even for a short time, then you will be able to make it through the emergency. The problem with that kind of thinking is that I make the assumption that everyone has a sense of humour. Also, that their sense of humour is more or less the same as mine. What I don’t consider until after I have had my say is that not everyone is able to appreciate the rainbow after the storm.

Quite frankly, for the most part other people’s tragedies are my entertainment. They are filmed and reported upon in a professional way and I am given 30 to 120 seconds to learn about the issue, react emotionally and then I have to move on. I don’t have the time to be concerned about something happening thousands of miles away. Every day tragedy will strike somewhere on the planet. A hurricane devastates the American Midwest, killing thirty-two, injuring a hundred and causing millions of dollars in property damage. Thousands of children in Africa and the Far East will starve or die from sickness or thirst. It is tragic!

There is nothing I can do about it short of giving to a reputable organization that will buy food and medicine. Does it make me lose my appetite? Will I not wash the car? Should I not throw out items that I no longer have a use for? Being hungry in an overcrowded garage, in a dirty car won’t help anyone. I’m not sure anything I do can help. It might help a few people short term, but long term solutions never seem to do much good.

Sometimes during my life, I have been devastated when my car broke down and I was faced with a large repair bill. At the same time, somewhere in the world, people were being enslaved, dying from disease and starving to death. My tears were for the car and the money it would take for repairs. I’m am aware that my priorities are in the wrong place, but not knowing who is suffering and where they are suffering allows me to distance myself.

You can’t be held accountable for all of the problems in the world. We all do our best to make this a better world, some try to improve a large part and others just work on their little corner.

I’ve painted myself into a corner.

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