CeCe’s Musings on this Scary World of Ours

CeCe’s Musings

The world is a scary and cruel place. It always has been. Human beings have spread unspeakable carnage since the reigns of Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, and Idi Amin. The main goals of most despots have been ultimate power, terror, and fear. These continue to be dictated and spread by terrorist factions throughout the world, but why does it appear to be even scarier these days? It may be our instant access to news, blogs, comments, and viral memes. We see and read and hear the violence and the hatred in each Twitter post, Facebook comment, and viral YouTube video. Perhaps it is the fear-mongering of certain politicians and special interest groups. Or is it our inability to just think for ourselves? 

Whatever the reason, we need to step back, take a breath, think before we speak (or post or comment), and embrace empathy. Let’s take a good, long look at the world around us. Most people want the same things: a safe home, a good meal, security, education, and the love of family and friends. These are simple wishes, but, unfortunately, in many parts of the world (and yes, here in the U.S.), there is uncertainty. Imagine never knowing if your local grocery story is safe from bombs or if your children will make it home from school. How would you feel if you fell asleep to sound of artillery fire? What if all you wanted was a quiet neighborhood with good schools for your children?

Most of us who live in safe, suburban enclaves take these for granted. We understand Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, even if we never took psychology. We know we must have food and water before safety, love and belonging before self-esteem. Our world is tidy, but don’t we wish that for others? Maslow theorized that most of us don’t get close to the top tier of the hierarchy. We will never totally possess a lack of prejudice, an acceptance of the facts, a true moral center, and perfect problem-solving skills, but the thing is, most of us are constantly striving for these attributes. We want peace. We seek serenity. We strive to see the goodness in others. We want a better world for our children.

So, how do we travel this road? First, we must begin to accept differences while acknowledging we are all similar in nature. We are moms and dads. We are neighbors. We are colleagues. Then, we reach out. Do not live in fear. This may seem simplistic, but it is how we navigate through all the mistruths and lies. Do not fear another religion. Do not fear different clothing. Do not fear a language other than ours.

I think one of the best ways to bypass fear is to ask questions. The woman who used to cut my hair was originally from Pakistan, and every time I had an appointment I asked about her country, its traditions, or how she practiced her religion. She never hesitated to talk because she knew I was genuinely interested, and through her stories it all became less scary. She was just a single mom who was trying to provide a better life for her daughters, just as I was with my boys. This was our common thread. Motherhood can knock down the toughest of walls.

I don’t claim to have the answers. I’m just a retired teacher who now attempts to gather her thoughts in this rambling blog of mine. My writing helps me sort through the chaos and calm my frantic mind. The evil is still out there, but the words help. I begin to embrace my empathy and turn it into power. I write. I read. I give money to UNICEF. I donate to local food pantries. I smile at strangers. I try to do good because as Ram Dass said, “ We’re all just walking each other home.”

Other credible and efficient charities according to charitywatch.org that help provide food, medicine, clothing, shelter materials, and other supplies and assistance to people in need:

American Refugee Committee
Catholic Relief Services
Church World Service
Doctors With Borders USA
International Medical Corps
International Rescue Committee
Lutheran World Relief
Mennonite Central Committee
Mercy Corps
Save the Children
United States Fund for UNICEF
World Vision