The door slammed. There was a rush upstairs. His fourth grade daughter was home from school. He went up to ask about her day. “It was awful,” she told him. “It was just rotten,” she said sobbing. He held her. After a final hug, he went downstairs.
About 30 minutes later, he went back to her room. She was kneeling by her bed. Her eyes were shut; she was murmuring something.
“Honey is everything all right?”
“Yes, Daddy, I’m just praying.”
“What are you praying for?”
She looked up and in a solemn tone replied, “Daddy, I’ve decided I don’t like this world.” She paused and added, “I’m praying for a new one.”
These days, I often feel like that child. I don’t like this world. I don’t like a world where children are hungry, and families are homelessness. I don’t like a world of mass shootings and unsafe gun laws. I don’t like a world where the rights and dignity of women are taken away and they’re made to feel “less than.” I don’t like a world where youth are exploited and trafficked. I don’t like a world that judges and negates persons because of their color, creed; country of origin or sexual orientation. I don’t like a world where our first reaction to anyone different is fear and suspicion. I don’t like a world where violence is used to answer disagreement, and diatribe replaces honest discussion. I don’t like a a world where truth is not a value but a commodity that’s manipulated for political, religious or economic gain.
I especially don’t like a world where others think those things are “O.K.”. I really don’t like a world where such things have become the “new normal.”
This means I have a choice. So do you. We can acquiesce. We can surrender. We can withdraw and isolate ourselves. We can seek what’s best for “me and mine” and forget about others and their needs. We can shut our eyes and close our ears.
Or ,we can choose not to let “what is” determine our response. We can choose to live out of a different reality and understanding. We can choose involvement over indifference, relationship over suspicion, integrity over deceit, and compassion over hate. We can refuse to degrade or demean other human beings no matter how much we might disagree with them. We can trust that what we say and do, how we treat ourselves and others, how we care for the world around us will make a difference even if it’s just a small one. We can live “as if” fear, anger, despair and hostility do not have the final say.
A man went with a friend of to get a morning coffee. He greeted the man at the counter courteously and placed his order. He received a curt answer and the cup was shoved at him rudely. The man accepted his drink and wished the server a good day. As the two friends walked away, the one asked, “Is he always so rude?” “Yes” replied the other. “Are you always so friendly and respectful?” “Yes, I am” said his friend. “Why?” he asked. The man paused and then answered: “Because I don’t want him to decide how I am going to act?”
Who decides how we are going to act? Who determines who we will be? We have the power to shape a new world. Will we act “as if” and by our living and loving make it so?