H. A. Byrd



Digging in the garden can be satisfying. Meditation gives relief from stress. Right now we each need to do what we can to take care of our health and well-being. But this is not enough. For our own sanity, we need to do more.

The coronavirus is a scary monster of a virus. Some have lost their loved ones. As social animals, we face the lonely dismay of isolation or the stress of returning to work. There are postponed dreams and diminished celebrations of life's milestones.

We have serious problems in the world right now, and for many of us, anxiety caused by the pandemic makes it more difficult to endure the voices of those who can only say “what about me?” We must all look beyond our personal pain, our social agendas. In America, our ship is sinking. There are priorities we can’t ignore. We have the power of the vote, and we must use it to save our country, as distasteful as the choices may be for some of us.

These are tough times. Our civilization seems to be sliding backward. Not only are we under attack, we are faced with our own ugliness. But disease must be seen before we can work to heal it. Racial inequality has always been a part of the US. We all know that. Classism also. In modern history, a decline started in the early 1980s when the country fell into the hands of major corporations. Also during that time police received qualified immunity.

We’ve seen racism and abuse magnified in these last several years. Many of us had no idea of the scale of the ignorance and hate that is still rampant in the 21st century. Witnessing this is painful. I saw my own family members racially profiled by police a few years ago, and yet didn’t recognize the extent of pervasiveness of the problem in our modern era. It has been brought to light. We all see it now. It is a time for personal reflection.

What must we do? I read an interview with the Seattle Peace Bus guy which inspired me. He said that we must truly listen. Hear people when they tell you they are oppressed. He said nobody has ever been angry about being listened to. He’s right. As far as possible, listen to others. Listen to those you disagree with, even the ignorant. Peace is found by modeling respect.

Focus on solutions rather than the problems. My friend Lisa and I were talking the other day about how we humans need so desperately to evolve. She pointed out that nature puts pressure on species to do so. It's easy to see that this is what we are experiencing right now. As humans we have developed certain responses over many years. We have caused our own problems. We can solve them. Are we going to learn and grow? Are we going to evolve? It’s time to use our critical thinking skills in combination with our hearts. We know what our issues are, now we need to focus on solving them.

There’s a lot of work to do. But there are millions of us now awake and wanting to help. The feeling of helplessness can be vanquished by taking one small step. We will evolve together.

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Copyright © 2020 Harriet Arden Byrd