I'm still not exactly sure. But I think it may have something to do with the fact that the things which are dragging us, as a society, one step closer to the fiery abyss, are often wrapped in pretty packages. Girls are having a nationwide identity crisis because they don't look like the 5'7", size double zero, airbrushed model on the front of Vogue. People's pain and humiliation is on prime time, disguised as entertainment for public viewing. So much about the world we are living in is pretentious, dolled up, tricked out. It's hard to get to the heart of things these days, because there is no heart in hollow, empty shells. Last Friday night, Dirk and I were watching "What Would You Do?" It's a hidden camera show which records actors playing out various scenes exhibiting often the worst of human behavior, and catching people's reactions to it. It is always inspiring to see people stepping up and speaking out for the underdog, or standing for something they believe in firmly. The disheartening part is that the scenarios depicted generally come from real life situations. Often, the people caught on camera are relieved to find out that the awful things they have just been witness to were all part of an act. But the ideas behind the show come from somewhere. They come from real life scenarios that happen all around us every day. I have witnessed a few scenes which have caused me to peer around the corner, just waiting for John Quinones to come waltzing out with his camera crew.........no John, no camera crew......just humans behaving inhumanely.
If you don't think the world is going to Helena, just turn on the news for five minutes and you'll change your mind. Here's the thing, though: I don't think we should just hand the world over to this "Helena Handbasket" without putting up a fight. But what can one person do in the face of so much relentless and discouraging darkness and meanness? It was just this question that I was pondering a few nights ago. I went outside to say my prayers under the stars. Doing this puts me in my place, so to speak. It helps me to realize my own nothingness in the vastness of the universe, while at the same time allowing me to commune with the one who made both myself and the stars. On this night, I prayed for purpose, for some meaning in all the madness. I prayed to know what, if anything, I could do, to make a tiny mend in the ever tearing fabric of society. The answer I felt was strange, and not what I expected........"Don't add to it. Be positive." That was it. No striking revelation about some mass movement I could start or viral video I could make......just "Don't add to it. Be positive." After puzzling over this answer in the past week, it has become sort of a mantra playing over and over in my mind. And I couldn't help but think of my last blog post. It was truth. Women are mean. They can be spiteful. But so was I. I realized that "hating the haters" won't help. Two negatives may make a positive in principles of mathematics, but they do not in principles of morality. With the help of my new mantra, I have decided that from henceforth I will try harder to project positive energy into the world. When I see a story on the news of a child who has been horribly abused or neglected, I will hug my own children that much tighter and give them an extra kiss before bed that night. When I hear a story of a teenage boy facing 10 years in prison for a foolish, thoughtless prank, I will write a note of appreciation to a teenager in my neighborhood for his exemplary behavior. When I hear of war, I will try to find peace within my own heart to love someone who has hurt me. Will any of this delay the hand off of the world to Helena Handbasket? Probably not. But, it is certainly a better solution than sitting idly because I can't save the entire world. And just imagine, if everyone adopted and truly tried to live by the mantra....."Don't add to the negativity. Be positive." Change has to start somewhere. And within the walls of our own homes is a good place to start. You see, Helena Handbasket may think she's got this whole thing wrapped up. What she doesn't realize is there is this underdog waiting in the wings called Hope. Hope is by far the stronger contender. She just needs a little encouragement sometimes. We can help with that. Each smile we give a stranger on the street; each prayer we send up for the fallen soldier; each word of encouragement to the overwhelmed mother in the supermarket, is a lace in Hope's boxing gloves. If we could all just cheer her on, by cheering one another on, she could have Helena up against those ropes in no time.
As for my blog, I know this post went a little toward the serious side again, but be assured that future posts will contain plenty more humor and quirkiness. One way I personally like to cheer Hope on is by making other people laugh; at life, at me; at themselves. But, I also vow to try and steer clear of posting anything mean spirited again. I will fight for the underdog by trying to lift him up, not by trying to beat the oppressor down. And now, you must excuse me, to go and grab a late night snack, because, I'm so hungry, I could eat a corpse and chase the mourners..........something my great grandma used to say.......another phrase of unknown origin. So, as my mother would say, "I'm off like a dirty shirt."