Focus on loving, carrying on
A citizen's view
November 15, 2023
“When the big things seem out of control … focus on what you love right under your nose” writes Charlie Mackay in his book, “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.” And it does seem so, that the world is out of control.
There are the Republicans, there is Hamas, Israel and the Palestinians, horrific, deadly chaos after years of neglect in Palestine, encroachment and abuse; military takeovers in southern Africa; German politics swinging right; New Zealand politics swing right, Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, Putin’s aggression everywhere; China and the U.S. at dangerous loggerheads; anger, lies and the increasing threats of violence gaining ever greater traction in America; individuals across the world fleeing violent home countries only to be met at hostile borders; climate change exacerbated by bombs and artillery; dwindling water supplies; loss of habitat. the daily extinction for creatures great and small.
We all wake up to this news, here in America, over there in Germany, down there in New Zealand, in the cities in Ukraine and South Sudan, to at least some kind of news in Russia; and we, the citizens, those not in power, are overwhelmed by the news of these acts, actions and realities, made almost exclusively by men, they who carry our precious Planet Earth ever closer to increasing disasters, devastating losses, to the brink of possible extinction.
What do we do, we citizens who watch these horrific events daily unfold? We, the recipients of choices made that are not our own. “To love what is right under your nose” perhaps? To take a deep breath, indeed to breath, slowly, and to realize that every small, positive action is healing, that hope is important, for to give up on hope is what creates hopelessness, which leads to cynicism and to the hardening of one’s heart.
All those small daily actions: sharing; being kind; nurturing friendship, making art; teaching; canning; sewing; being curious; reading; refusing; writing letters; repurposing, re-using; reminding; cutting out butterflies; observing; caring; supporting; making an effort; watching birds; painting birds; protesting; showing compassion; being patient; being furious; sharing righteous anger; refusing; embracing; walking; laughing; crying; talking; forgiving; exchanging; learning; helping; asking; listening; answering; voting; they all create a world of life and living.
“‘Sometimes,’ said the horse, ‘Sometimes what?’ asks the boy. ‘Sometimes just getting up and carrying on is great and magnificent.’”
Christine Wardenburg-Skinner is an artist, wife, mother, grandmother and a believer in the broad expression of ideas. She lives in Edison.