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Friday, January 25, 2013

Where Were You?

I found God
On the corner of First and Amistad
Where the west
Was all but won
All alone
Smoking his last cigarette
I said, "Where you been?"
He said, "Ask anything." 

Where were you

When everything was falling apart?

"You Found Me" by The Fray 

Every time I hear this song now, all I can think about are the parents of the children from Sandy Hook.  All I can imagine is being one of the mothers, lying on my bathroom floor, very Katherine Heigl from Grey's Anatomy.  Just staring at the wall.  Not breathing.  Not doing anything at all.

It's not cliched to say that once you become a parent, something inside of you changes. You look at your children and think, "I would do ANYTHING to protect them.  ANYTHING."  You imagine yourself lifting cars, and leaping tall buildings, just to wipe a tear.  It's that kind of madness.

Sandy Hook didn't devastate me because 20 children died in one horrific incident.  It devastated me because it takes that kind of tragedy to get people to pay attention for longer than 30 seconds.  Last summer, 19 people were shot in one night in Chicago.  They were all somebody's baby.  Nobody even blinked.  We've become so immune to tragedy, so numb to violence that it is now an acceptable part of society.  

We stand at youth sports games now and hear the rules for parental conduct, because our behavior is so inappropriate, we're no longer good role models for our own children.  Athletes cheat, because we demand in-human feats of strength. Performers lip sync because we tolerate nothing less than perfection.  We tell our kids they're brilliant when they don't even try hard, and we give medals for showing up.  We're delusional, arrogant and self-absorbed.  We're also tired, scared and paralyzed by the fear that whatever we might do will be wrong, so it must be better to do nothing at all.

I'm a little bit crazy, so I was dreading the big Mayan Apocalypse in December. I was grateful to wake up to find the world still spinning, and was hopeful that we do, indeed stand a chance at redemption.  Except it doesn't just happen.  We don't just wake up to a better world.  We have to make it for ourselves.  And we've become an inherently lazy society.  

What if someone told you that you had Stage 3 cancer and that you had to make a choice between two options?

Option 1.  You can stand and fight.  You can get treatment, knowing you will get sick, you will lose your hair, your body will suffer unimaginable pain.  The upside of this discomfort is that you will probably survive, and your children will be cancer free.

Option 2.  You can do nothing to treat the disease, and it will be taken from you and given directly to your child.

No one would choose option 2.  NO ONE.  And yet, our society has option 2 written all over it.  

Maybe the Apocalypse isn't one giant event, but it is a million small ones.  We die by a thousand cuts: when innocent lives are lost; when we allow the world we live in -- the one we are borrowing from our children -- to be raped of its natural resources; when we enable inequality and injustice; when we turn our heads rather than face conflict.

It's time to get treatment. 
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