Even before the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan and the eruption of war in Libya, staying out of anxiety and despair when thinking about the future was a personal challenge. In this moment my life is full and good, but what if oil prices triple before the end of the year, what if our financial system collapses, what the nuclear crisis is worse than we’re being told? What will happen to everyone and everything I love on this planet? What will happen to the fragile web of life.
While it's true we are facing challenges humans have never before faced, the same could also be said of every age. While there is an urgency to prepare now before it's too late, there’s a fine balance between preparing for the future and sacrificing peacefulness in the present by imagining worst case scenarios.
"...the great ages have been those in which the old routines and ideas, the organizational predictables and the moral imperatives broke down and the barely imaginable of the last generation became the common place of the new. Then life as we had never known it broke through the old borders of the mind and the world became fresh again." Joan Chittister, Uncommon Gratitude
One of the challenges of these times is to break through “the old borders of the mind” so we believe that the world can be “made fresh” again. How do we do that in the face of what we know and in the face of so much uncertainty. For me the clear answer is in community. When it impossible for me to hold the high watch, I need someone else to do it for me. I need to put myself in the presence of others who know, at least some of the time, it is possible for the world to become fresh again. Some of the time I need to be the one who knows.
As a reminder of what is possible in the midst of all the turmoil, we see ordinary people taking to the streets, taking courageous risks to create the futures they believe are possible.
It occurs to me that this is a particularly poor time to sit back and wait to see what will happen next. I liked the end of the video, 300 Years of Fossil Fuel in 300 Seconds (see home page for link).
“We have to live within nature’s budget of renewable resources at rates of natural replenishment. Can we do it? We have no choice.”
I’m willing to believe we can. A first step for me is to begin transforming our standard city lot, currently mostly lawn, into an oasis of some food production and wildlife sanctuary.
I’m willing to believe the future can be brighter than the present, that we can become a more resilient, emotionally richer community. Will you help me to carry that vision, especially in the moments when I forget?