Thursday, July 13, 2006

A World in Conflict

I'm feeling an unfortunately familiar nagging agitation in the pit of my stomach, a worrisome doubt in the back of my mind, the kind of concern that buries itself in your subconscious while you're eating dinner with friends, or working at your job, or cleaning your house. Then you happen by a TV set, turn on the car radio, or pull up your home page on the computer, and you're reminded that there is evil afoot in the world, and it could be cataclysmic.

Today's "fresh hell," as Dorothy Parker used to say, is of course the situation in the middle east. Let me clarify that by saying, the "escalating" situation in the Middle East, because for as long as I can remember, there has been some sort of situation there. I don't pretend to have an understanding of the historical or political basis for what's happening right now between Israel and Lebanon. I do know that once again we are being inundated with pictures of refugee families being forced from their homes, and soldiers being kidnapped and tortured. Here at home, our stock market is "tanking" and our gasoline prices are "soaring."

For most average US citizens, it was 9/11 that brought the impact of the middle east conflict right to our doorstep. While I did not personally know anyone directly affected by that tragedy, as an American, I was of course deeply affected in my heart. My husband and I were on an airplane ourselves that morning. We were heading to Florida to help our son and daughter in law move into their first home. We made an "unscheduled landing" in Greensboro, North Carolina, where we were billeted in a lovely hotel for three days until flight restrictions were lifted. It was a minor inconvenience at worst. But the feeling of being "trapped" halfway between our home and our child, with no way of getting to either one, was just enough of a wake up call to make us realize that this was very serious stuff going on. It was the first time in my experience that world events had so directly affected my everyday life, and it was an extremely frightening feeling.

Ordinary citizens in Middle Eastern countries live with far, far worse situations every day. It is unimaginable to me that you could raise children, tend to the elderly, go to school and work, just go through the motions of an everyday life when the ever present threat of death and destruction is right outside your door.

This volatile world situation makes everything we do here in our lives seem so superfluous. What difference does it make whether I get new carpet in my family room? Who cares whether I get offered that new job in the school district? So what if I don't have time to write a new post for my blog today?

Sometimes I feel like an irate preschool teacher, and I just want to shout to the world "Why can't you all get along? If you can't settle your differences peaceably, then it's time out for all of you!"

The conflicts between nations and ideologies seem as old as time itself. They are senseless, illogical, devastating, and evil. They are everpresent. Meanwhile, I continue to pursue the insignificant drama that comprises my daily life, and be ever thankful that my physical pain consists of nothing more than "a nagging agitation in the pit of my stomach." Oh, there's one more thing I can do. Pray - for peace.


Blogger Susannah said...

i agree - we can pray (or in my case, send light and good thoughts to them). i have always strongly believed that if every single person on the planet changed their way of thinking from negative to positive, the whole world would change, our collective energies would cause a shift. i think i'm going to do my little bit - think positively today, smile at people i meet in the street and dream of a peaceful world. perhaps if we all do this something will happen? x

Blogger deirdre said...

I just saw the morning paper with headlines about the new fighting in the mid-east. It's such a long-drawn and complicated situation. I don't know how anyone could truly understand what's happening there. I don't have much room left inside of me right now to give politics of any kind much thought, much less try to unwind the intricacies of scheming political minds. It makes me profoundly sad that a relatively few people control the lives and deaths of so many. And yes, I agree, it makes the small details of our lives even smaller. A good reality check.

Blogger Star said...

I read your post last night and I'm reading it again as I'm checking my bloglines. Many people have written posts about this "unrest" and I guess I feel wicked for not writing one of my own. But I can't. When I try, the tears well and my emotions take up residence in my throat. It all seems so futile.

But at the same time, I admit to admiration for anyone who has such a passionate devotion to defending their property or their religion or their very existence when I sit back and just take everything that is dished my way. As in many things, my view tends to be simplistic--can't everyone just get along? Yet I wonder if that kind of thinking on my part comes because the effects of "their" conflicts are indirect for me (higher gas prices, altered trade status, tighter travel restrictions). If it were my property, my religion, my very existence, I think I would see it differently. I'm not sure verbal negotiation would cut it.

Thank you for once again eloquently expressing the angst we all feel.

Blogger David E. Patton said...

It seem like there will allways be war on the earth and it is a sad commentery on mankind that we can do each other the way that we do.

Blogger ecm said...

This is so true. I find myself not even wanting to hear or read news from the middle east because it is always bad, bad, bad. Maybe if we all followed the mantras of preschool teachers, the world would be a better place.

Blogger jzr said...

Becca, you write beautifully about this tragedy that leaves all of our stomachs in an uproar. And though it is happening "across the pond," the world is small and may well indeed be on our own doorsteps before too long. We all must think positively and pray for peace. And best of all be peace. If we can forgive ourselves and those who have caused harm to us, perhaps it will spread around the world and we'll all come to the peace table with love.

Blogger Cate said...

Thank you for this post.

I was at the gym today, and of course, every television in the place was tuned to CNN or FOX news. I looked at the faces of families, holed up in apartments or shelters, and the images of smoke over skylines, and I thought, "Why am I here? Why am I making a big deal out of running on a treadmill for thirty minutes when so many people are scared or suffering?"

Nothing to add here, but wanted to let you know that your thoughts mean so much to me.

Praying for peace along with you.

Blogger Tammy said...

Amen my friend! I can't shake the feeling this is just the beginning and Lebanon is just a pawn.



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