Sunday, June 25, 2017

6/26/17—Turning Toward God

As I mentioned last week, I live right by three different neighborhoods I grew up in. And that kind of familiarity just naturally makes you think of your childhood from time to time.

When I was a kid, I remember we would haunt the neighborhood all day and into the night, playing with friends in front yards, hanging out on street corners, tromping through the woods looking for secret places to smoke, loitering in forbidden places.

I remember one time, in first grade, I intentionally took the wrong bus home so I could ride with a friend. I knew how to get home from her stop, so I thought, "why not?" I was clearly independent and a rule challenger even back then. I knew it was wrong. But I didn't factor in this sharp drop off between the land and the roadway. To this day there is no safe passage on that side of the road, and crossing the busy road was a challenge at my age—and I'd have to do it twice.

So just as I committed to navigating the dangerous, brambled precipice over the road in my dress (little girls wore quite proper dresses in those days, not comfortable clothes like jeans or leggings) my REAL bus driver rolled past, saw me and drove me home. I got in trouble for it, too. I remember my mother being both angry and perplexed.

It wasn't the last time her studious, well behaved daughter would get in trouble, either. I believe a well-timed family move when I was 14 changed my life and put me back on the straight and narrow, because I can honestly see where, if we'd stayed where we stayed, my whole trajectory as a human would have changed. I'd have gotten into drugs and I'd have just gone on a darker path at a time it would have overtaken me. I've done my share of drugs, and probably a little of your share, too. But it was all when I was older and had more of a handle on who I am and who I'm capable of being.

But I digress. I got in trouble for taking the wrong the bus and almost getting killed. Maybe. Who knows? But I primarily got in trouble because the road was dangerous and too busy for a six year old to travel alone. It wasn't as much because the world is dangerous and men prey on little girls so I can NEVER walk alone. Or play in the front yard. Or hang out on street corners. Or loiter in forbidden places.

The world I grew up in is a different world today. Kids can't even play unsupervised in their own front yards anymore. Men who indulge pedophilic urges, while not new, are more common today. And they don't just prey on girls, either. And it's not just that. It's hate crimes and bullies and school shootings, etc. All around, the world is a more dangerous place.

It's all a symptom of something with the power to utterly devastate humankind—it's a symptom of how we've been slowly closing our hearts over time. And now we have to limit our own freedoms to protect against those whose hearts have completely closed. And we have to suspect, not just creeps in cars, but neighbors and other parents—and even family members—because you just. never. know.

Our hearts just close more and more with each passing year or generation and, depending on how open you were to begin with, it's closing some hearts off to the point they just really don't care anymore. It's turning us into something different...something less human.

We are imposing an evolution upon ourselves that will eventually be our undoing. It shows itself in crime, drug abuse, bullying, racism, road rage, you name it. We close ourselves off more and more to certain types of people. We turn ourselves away from opinions that don't support our view. We don't trust those we don't know. We isolate ourselves inside our safe neighborhoods and social circles and workplaces. In short, we are losing trust and faith in god and humanity. And whether the belief came before the reality, or the reality came before the belief, this is where we are.

The rate of this evolution seems to be quickening lately, too. Maybe it's my perspective because I live in the US and everything has gone goofy here in the last year or so. But it seems like everyone and everything is darker and angrier. But then I'm darker and angrier. And frankly, there's a lot to be dark and angry about, regardless of your political leanings. I find it harder to hold on to my faith and trust in my spirituality. And it makes me sad. It helps to stay away from the news, but it's in the air. It's there, even if you don't participate.

I don't think it's too late for us. We may need to bring all this to the surface before we can heal. But it seems to me that something really big is going to have to happen to heal the ones who are the least awake. And that scares me. Like I said, it's a dark time. It's hard to see the light sometimes. But I refuse to accept that this is our fate...that we evolved to have this brilliance and all this ability, only to use it all to secure our self-destruction. But I know my countrymen are angrier than I thought they were and I know I'm angrier than I thought I was, and I don't see an end in sight until we shift focus...until we're ready to turn away from petty human hates and turn toward our spirituality once again.