Battles are being fought every day in every country of the world. In some places the battles are armed combat and people are losing their lives. In other places it is a war of words and ideologies. I wonder if in these conflicts we aren’t slowly losing part of our humanity and decency. Perhaps the most difficult battles are being waged from within. These personal, private clashes with ourselves as we try to overcome what comes naturally and replace it with how we choose to be will affect body, mind and spirit.
Whether or not we realize it, each day we wake up and enter the fight.
Whether we want to or not.
Following the counsel of leaders I trust implicitly, I try to remain informed on what is happening around me.
I guess that would also mean being informed on what is happening around you as well.
With so many important things going on around us, there are bound to be a variety of opinions and viewpoints. I think that is appropriate. We aren’t robots simply following orders (history has proven how devastating that can be), but rather unique individuals who bring past experiences to the table and see things from different directions.
While watching the news or reading the paper this last week I was struck solidly with the understanding that the days of neutrality are gone. I’m not sure how Switzerland feels about that, but the time has come that even they must choose one side or the other.
Why can’t we say that we don’t want to get involved, that it isn’t our fight, or really of our concern?
I think it goes back to that third type of fight we are involved in that we spoke of at the beginning. As we deal with inner conflicts and make choices as to who we work to become, it affects our outward views.
And we have to stand for something.
Everyone actually needs to have a cause, an idea, a philosophy, a religious conviction that they are truly passionate about and are actively working to strengthen.
Without it, we will slowly die just a little more each day. If we aren’t improving and moving upward, we are in reality drifting downward.
No one can ever stay the same and just exist.
No matter how comfortable neutrality may appear.
But in our zeal to be passionate too often we become zealots. Our conviction that our viewpoint or ideology is absolutely correct, and then by corollary the opposition is completely wrong and must be eradicated, leads us to word to word combat if not hand to hand. Then the other side usually steps up after feeling attacked and seeks vilification through reciprocating even more ferocious rounds.
And each of us loses a bit more of our humanity.
Kind of like slowly dying a little more each day.
Although probably not so slowly.
Since neutrality isn’t really an option anymore, where does that leave us?
Perhaps that is one of those things that we include in our daily confrontation with ourselves.
We are naturally angry. Sometimes we confuse that with being passionate.
But I don’t think the two go hand in hand.
The opposite of that would be apathy.
Which leads us back to neutrality.
I think we start standing for something by calmly looking at the other person as, well just that, a person. A person who gets up every morning and wages their own fight from within. A person who is trying to figure it out as they go.
Just like we are.
Can we imagine how different the conflicts would be if each side stopped to really look at each other first before sitting down to the table?
Because in the end, isn’t that what standing for something is really about?
When we are truly passionate, we heighten our emotions and our feelings and our vision. We see clearly enough to not want to force our convictions on others, but to help them also see clearly and choose it for themselves.
I guess a litmus test at the end of the encounter would be to ask: Am I bitter or better?
Bitter means something needs to change in what we are doing. Because that is driving us downward.
Better would be the obvious choice. But we don’t become better through destroying others. We become better by lifting them.