Why is this blog entry called why?
I’ll get to that. For now you have to keep wondering for a few minutes.
At work, between calls and emails I sometimes find the time to play little brainless games that require no energy at all and just keep my boat afloat through the day. Today I am playing Mahjong. Something about this game means I have an entire part of my mind that feels free to wander, and so it meanders along the little creek commonly referred to as the “stream of consciousness”. I am thinking about a conversation I had with my friend yesterday.
In the past six months I have developed a very close friendship with someone who is a few years older than my parents. Yesterday we were at the pub having a chat, and it led to me doing what I often do – ranting about the state of the world. Telling my favourite tale about how seeing people in abject poverty, and knowing that the system has the power to do something but doesn’t do it, has caused me to become a revolutionary.
That seems to be the story I tell about myself. And it points to a very strange contradiction between my core world views.
I can accept that everything that happens to me happens for a reason. I can work from the foundation that everything in my own life right now is as it should be. I feel divine guidance around me all the time. Including right now.
What I have never been able to do is accept that everything that happens to everyone happens for a reason. In particular, that poverty, famine, and the sins of capitalism/social class have happened for a reason, or that they are exactly as it should be. This inability to accept is what causes me to carry this as my story, rattle off my tale of inequality and injustices seen second-hand, preach to anyone who will listen about how we all have to do everything we can to change it.
So this is exactly what I did, and as always I had a willing listener in my older (and infinitely wiser) friend. I suspect he was like me once – young, wild-eyed and lost in the world. He has spent his entire life so far in service to the working class. From his perspective I’m almost certainly naive, but he clearly finds my global ambition refreshing, so he puts up with my naivety.
“People die every day due to the injustices of the world. In the face of this urgency, how can we afford to sit back and just let things happen?” I say in the middle of my rant.
Somehow he didn’t have to say anything at this point – I could tell in his reaction that my description of urgency made him a little tired. That was enough. I got the message.
“Things have been urgent for centuries, haven’t they” I said slowly.
“Exactly,” he replied. “That’s the problem.”
Ugh. There’s one to digest. Here I am thinking the world can’t wait another year like this, and suddenly I have to wake up to the realization that it probably will take a long, long time and a lot more unjust deaths before things start to even out. Who knows if the world will ever look the way I see that it could look? Will we get there?
I don’t know. Nobody knows.
Why do people die?
Why do people oppress each other?
Why can I not accept the same patience and understanding for other peoples problems – tragedies – as for my own problems – challenges?
Sadie, calls my soft wise voice, the Universe.
Yes? Do you have the answer? I’m listening. Please tell me.
Sadie, you silly child.
Don’t you think if I wanted you to accept other people’s plights I would have made you to accept other people’s plights? Hasn’t it crossed your mind that your inability to accept the state of the world is the very fire that keeps you being you? If everything is as it should be, doesn’t that include you being as you should be – and not being able to accept it as it is?
The picture suddenly makes a little bit more sense, and I swear I heard the Universe laugh gently.
I think about this for a while, and finally I asked the Universe,
“For goodness sake, you like paradoxes, don’t you? Can’t you ever make anything straight forward?”
Don’t be silly. There – the Universe just laughed again. The laughter is soothing, even though I think it is laughing at me. It seems to think I’m cute. I might be a little irritated, like a child pouting when her mother fluffs up her hair, except that I feel strong waves of love being sent to me.
Anyway, you have all the resources you need, right? Like the guidance of your wise mentor-friend. I arranged that, you know. I’ve got your back.
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Now I sound like a teenager, trying to get her mother to go away and stop babying her. Secretly, though, I love the Universe’s motherly attention right now. It soothes my heart.
So much for the serenity prayer – I’m off to go attempt to change the things that I’ve been told I can’t change. Clearly, I wasn’t made to accept them after all.