Life Lives in the Gray

I have not written lately; I have not been able to find my words. I simultaneously feel like I have an obligation – and no right at all – to speak. I feel ignorant and naïve about the depth of the pain that has swirled around me. And I feel lost; I barely recognize my world anymore.

The endless drone of falsehood and hate; the path designed to wear us down.

Each day obliterating another norm of decency and democracy. How did we come to the point of such divisiveness? Or was it always there and I just did not see?

Life lives in the gray; I heard that phrase today.

The black and white heart is a dangerous thing. Forcing sides into unyielding chambers will always fail to reveal understanding and truth. The rigidity in our thinking is frightening; the encouragement to embrace this path, alarming. We cease listening, we stop learning, empathy is forgotten, and we arrive at a place where we are seemingly incapable of resolving our differences. If you are right, then I must be wrong.

I thought, naively so, that we were grounded in a belief system that honored truth, dignity, and fairness. That has been upended. For too many, it never existed. We have moved beyond the ideal of a melting pot to a boiling simmer.

This moment is full of danger and fear, but also a chance for change…if we can only listen. I hope it is not fleeting.

“That peoples can no longer carry on authentic dialogue with one another is not only the most acute symptom of the pathology of our time, it is also that which most urgently makes a demand of us.” ~ Martin Buber (1878—1965)

17 comments

  1. derrycats

    It is very hard to know what to say about these days. It is all so wrong, so mean,so unyielding to anyone who might have a different viewpoint. I’d love to read a history book about this time about 50 years or so from now. I suspect it will not be a flattering portrait.

  2. There was a US president who was quoted (in a time of war) as saying (to other countries) .. “You’re either for us, or you’re against us.” It has always surprised me that there was no apparent tolerance of neutrality. A very black/white perspective.

    I have known a few US citizens, and have been surprised at the times that I have been asked for my opinion on something they love, and have responded with some general comment .. which generated “So you hate it then?”

    I have no idea where this love/hate with nothing in between comes from, but it would appear that some in the US do see things simplistically .. in black/white. Trump would appear to be working that trait as hard as he can. We can only hope and pray that common sense from the general US public will prevail.

  3. KD

    I have hope.

    Thank you for your words and perspective. There are many of us that feel the same and Will hopefully learn and grow together.

  4. Cindy Towne

    So well said. All this has given me bouts of anxiety even though I try to not listen to anything. But it’s everywhere. My heart is breaking for this country.

  5. Oh, and you closed with Buber. The whole post gives me goosebumps. Just immediate impressions: Maybe like the Buddhists has always been practicing, it is a mistake to get too attached to our transitory world. There is truth in this, detachment as a philosophy helps one, as much as one can do it, not get just completely ground up by the gears of even your own personal suffering. But the second thing, I think of more often, is Crisis Intervention Theory. I practiced, using this for decades. One thing it postulated was Crisis=Opportunity. Maybe, we have an opportunity here, to turn despair into change. Maybe not. Maybe it will take more crisis. If we work hard to maintain a degree of detachment from our own feelings, maybe in our own small way, we can somehow contribute to the change.

  6. Corie & Poe

    Excellent post. These are turbulent times where the fabric of society is pulled by a fear that is fueled from so many sources. When thousands take to the streets in protest despite the pandemic risk we should be heartened by that strength. Hopefully the nation will use this upcoming election to help make change.

  7. I feel your pain. Every. Single. Day. I lament the way things appear to be going backwards, the way progress has not only halted but in some cases been reversed. I have donated to every good cause I possibly could, but to what end? Will my small donations really make any diifference? I may never know for sure. All I can do is hope.

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