Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baby, Are Those Dark Clouds A'Coming?

Whatever happened to decency? I heard she took ill and moved south for fairer weather. Everybody questions. Everybody wonders; and the bombs keep rumbling and fear survives. I once heard this rumor of rumors of war, where nothing felt honest and safety seemed a tale of ancient wonder. Rumor has it that the rumors aren't just rumors anymore. I guess we aren't safe really anywhere, these days. I think we feel safe. As Americans, we aren't used to someone infringing on our security - when they do, the harsh reality that most countries face each day takes hold. No one expects the bus to bring home one less child because the battlefield playground traded twigs and fingers for real guns today. No one predicts street corner explosions will leave you with one less limb tomorrow. These are things we read about in magazines, or see on TV between Sportscenter and "reality" shows; only to duck back within our shells when the truth gets far too dark. Then suddenly it's here and everyone feels mortal. You see through the makeup to the swollen eyes on Liberty and notice the age spots and frail bones of Uncle Sam. For the first time, you feel honest. Everybody calls their loved ones, holds their family close, and feels things a little deeper for a while. We all speak of unity, resilience, and setting aside differences to walk tall through adversity - and that's all perfect - until the weeks go by and we never truly address the problem.

     We claim we're this great country, with total liberty - the envy of the world. Perhaps we are. Perhaps we should be - but when the doors are closed and the lights come up, everybody's searching. We've spent so many years breeding an ambiguous culture of total acceptance and selfish independence, that roots are long forgotten and identities have vanished. What's left to hold onto when your anchors have gone? When religion, and family, and gender, and heritage are blurred into an all-consuming, mesh of "be what you want and call bigotry on those with spoken conviction" - where does personal recognition play in? Where are beliefs centered and truths grounded? From where does integrity rise, and what sparks hope when the dark comes creeping in? Hearts are void meaning, the world is Godless and the effects of such vacancies result in desperate attempts for self-fulfillment. The un-grounded long for structure, and the frightened seek control - and so we turn to things to make ourselves feel less powerless. Whether through the numbing calm of illicit sex or drugs, or by harming ourselves or those around simply for spite, attention, or unaddressed, social aggression, those void of sure identity lack the foundational stability and self-security to address the confusions of the present world in a positive and non-harmful way - desperate pleas for self-fulfillment will ultimately result in physical or emotional harm to either one's self or those surrounding - and we wonder why bombs go off?
     When families are non-existent, churches are spiritless, values are belittled, and morality is deemed "closed-mindedness," where then does humanity come from? The "Great Melting Pot" of America has lost it's cultural relevance and become nothing more than a cluttered pool of all-accepting weakness. We've become the middle-school, bully's parents - too afraid to say no; so terrified of being disliked, that we allow all, ignore misconduct and step around words that may bring conflict like "wrong", "sin", or "guilty." We're too afraid of tantrums to stop socially harmful practices, we're too worried about public opinion to oppose immorality, and too arrogant to accept the fact that our criminals are criminals and more than simply "socially handicapped" or "mentally unstable."  We've become a society where misconduct is no longer punished, but rewarded with an acronym'd disease, a bottle of pills, and an easier alternative. You never have to mend your flaws, you simply come up with a name, a vague reason you have it, and ride the excuse until a child is found dead in your closet.

     Just as children are raised by parents, countries are raised by leaders; politicians, pastors, teachers, common souls. Weak children are nursed, bad children are punished, and all children are taught proper social behavior and expected to carry such into adulthood - those who aren't are considered, "sickly", "spoiled", and "abnormal". By accepting this, "hands off", "cool parent" approach to society, we've created a sickly, spoiled, abnormal social environment, that breeds contempt for authority, longs for self-gratification and feels so superior to everyone else, that we're unable to see our own world-shattering, abnormality. We've allowed the misbehaving 6th grader to become a delinquent teen - only to turn from his problems, ignore his endless questions, smile through his pleas for help, and then scratch our heads in wonder when his face and list of victims makes the front page. We don't have a problem with society - we have a problem with the roots of society;
     A tree with rotting roots can stand - for years, sometimes. It often looks fine despite its dying interior. Those expected to nurture and maintain the tree may not even recognize or chose to regard the state of its decay - until it dies. Yet even in death the tree may stand. Leaves may fade and its limbs become brittle, but still it stands. It will stand until pushed or pulled by storm or tempest - perhaps those far weaker than ones it once stood through in times before - yet its lack of rooted security caused a body wide decay that resulted in the crumbling of a once great thing. Had the problem been addressed, perhaps its life could have been saved. Perhaps its roots would burrow deeper and its strength would be increased. Instead it was left alone, standing with the appearance of greatness while lifeless deep within. The ungrounded are easily broken, and those without roots collapse.

     I fear that answers will never truly come; and questions will arise to the answers that we now possess.  The world is a darkened place, and some things can never be explained. Nevertheless, within confusion, internal peace must be the rock that brings us hope. Without identity, we are nothing more than aimless faces, searching to find a purpose. Become yourself; know your convictions and why you have them, defend your beliefs and the proven truths you've built them on, speak out against wrong doing, and develop those still left unsure. Society is broken, but not deceased, and its roots can still be restored. Rebuilding requires secure foundation; find those roots and find repair. Change starts from within...

                                                                        ...I have nothing further but to wait...

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