May 18, 2020
Neighborhood groups online give me pause this night. Groups on Facebook or NextDoor; are concerning me daily. A part of me, in isolation, wants to hear what is going on. BUT…
these posts???? About blame or shame or passing the responsibility to others. It reminds me of when my twins were accepted to colleges and I was invited to each of their college parent Facebook groups. As I read posts, such as obsessing about how to decorate the incoming freshman’s dorm room; or how to intervene for the student when they got their first failing grade; I would cringe. I would text my twins, exasperated, and say “These parents are crazy?” or ask, “Don’t these parents know how to let their kids grow up?!!!” My twins would respond, “MOM, just leave the group!”
I am continually plagued with these online groups and ask, as a favorite 80’s group, The Clash, might say, “Should I stay or Should I go?” I wish to be informed by what is going on in communities I am a part of. There is always this sense that I don’t know something and need to learn. Don’t get me wrong… I do see helpful, heart-filled posts. Like a neighbor who is elderly and cares for his wife and can’t get out could not find toilet paper to buy… and several people responded saying he could private message him with his address and toilet paper would be dropped off. These examples show me value.
BUT… then there are the posts:
— “Homeless Encampments trashing ________ (fill in the blank for the community you live)”
— “Cops called on me at Safeway”
A man posts that he went to a public parking lot to meet up with people to buy auto parts because it is in the open and he didn’t feel comfortable having people come to his home. Someone called the police for “suspicious activity”. Thankfully the police came and assessed the situation and saw no need to intervene. But as the poster said, “Stop profiling people just because they are selling automotive parts.”
— “Robbery at McDonalds last night”
“There was a robbery last night from 10:00pm-10:20pm at the McDonald's drive thru. The car stopped by the drive thru window, and even with multiple cars behind them, they proceeded to take the cash register, monitors, and basically anything that was in sight at the window.”
While people are pontificating on free speech versus public platforms, what is illuminated to me is the growing fear and distress in our world. And the bottomless pit of needs.
As the New York Times headline reported May 14, 2020, “‘Rolling Shock’ as Job Losses Mount Even With Reopening” The article shares the two month total of unemployment claims are up to 36 million. More people are becoming homeless… More people are desperate… More people are scared… More people see no hope.
Issues are being raised that concern our human community daily. And the responses to desperation and fear, are met with those same exact feelings. The world is desperate and fearful and falling apart. Things will not return as they were. So what can I do?
That is my question to myself daily. What can I do? I strive to rely on my heart to guide me… just as I did with my twins as I was raising them and as I watched them depart to college. I need to be informed… and I need to trust my heart. More than ever, I need to give others grace; and pray they are able to give grace.
This night I offer these words as my prayer.
“Look not mournfully into the past, it comes not back again. Wisely improve the present, it is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear and with a (human) heart.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow