Photo: Peter Griffin
Or something like that. (And yes, I'm parapharasing the lyrics by design.)
There's a Chinese proverb/curse . . . and let me take a brief detour here to say how fitting it is that a culture that uses the same symbolic language for "crisis" and "opportunity" would also provide a proverb that may be interpreted as a curse. And we now return you to our regularly scheduled program . . .
The Chinese proverb/curse states: "May you live in interesting times." Is there anyone, anywhere on the planet who doesn't think this is one of the most "interesting" times in human history? The ice caps are melting. The trees are dying. Floods. Droughts.Blizzards. Heatwaves. Famine. And don't even get me started on the wars. The corruption. The crimes against humanity. YIKES!! If this isn't a Tiger/Bear/Strawberry flash of history, I don't know what is.
It's easy to think that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket so we might as well get out our fiddles and do a little dancin' before the flames reach us. We may even be tempted to think that there's nothing we can do that will make a difference for ourselves or for the planet. (Or, you know, maybe I'm the only one who ever has these thoughts. In which case I've just thoroughly embarrassed myself. But I'm betting that I'm not alone.)
Guess what? We're not the first generation to feel this way. (And, God willin' and the oceans don't rise, we won't be the last.) It's difficult to keep perspective when you're knee deep in the river and the water's risin', isn't it? But that's exactly what we must do.
Every generation has its moments of despair. For me, perspective comes by reading the words of those who have gone before us. One of my favorites is this, which was inscribed on a tablet in Assyria, circa 2800 BC:
“Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching.”
We have two choices: change with the world as the story unfolds, or remain chained to our fears. I choose change. I choose to work for the causes I believe in and my loved ones. I choose to live my best life and do everything I can to make the world a little more beautiful and more homey. How about you? If you're willing to roll up your sleeves instead of throwing up your hands in despair, we could really use your help.