Without disclosing my age, I will say I remember the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks. Not quite vividly, but it’s one of those stained synapses that even at that point in my youth, I could feel was significant. I walked into our kitchen, and saw my mother hunched up on one of our pleather upholstered bar stools we kept at our kitchen counter eating area. She was shaking, tears fighting their way out of her eyes at the convex screen’s illuminating image of the impending destruction. The second tower hadn’t been hit yet. But it was looming in everyone’s mind what was to come.
I don’t know about you all, but last night around nine o’clock my time, I felt myself go pale. I don’t usually like to get too personally political in conversation even with those who know me better than most. I don’t quite know what to make of the last few months, but last night scared me in a way I can’t quite synthesize into verbal communication. For the first time in my adult consciousness, I thought we just might be headed for war. As someone who’s been to Russia, pardon my language, we could be absolutely fucked. They don’t mess around.
By that same token, I felt conflicted. If the Syrian government did in fact use chemical weapons against its own people, and children no less, we cannot let these atrocities continue. But it’s that feeling of dread. The world as I know it, my own protected little bubble compared to how many other groups feel on a daily basis, may be transformed. As connected as we may think we are sometimes, with our technology and social media being a heavily engrained concept in the Millennial generation, we can be so out of touch by what a day-to-day looks like in somewhere other than where we are.
I read books about World War II growing up. It was a time period that fascinated me, partially stemming from my father’s interest in that era as well. But I studied how each and every aspect of the average American’s life was shaped by the conflict at home and overseas. That all sounds purely intriguing because it was over seventy years ago. But to have that sort of moulding from the dynamics of the world become a player in my life? It’s a lot to think about.
I never pretend like I have all the answers. And I always like to know what’s coming next. But sometimes it’s good to remind yourself how truly small you are in relation to the rest of the planet. My desire for comfort and consistency is not even remotely crucial if it would be sacrificed for defending the helpless and innocent. I also cannot even begin to understand the suffering they experience on a daily basis. I won’t pretend to. So I can cut the self-pity on how “hard” my life might become if the world is heading for conflict. I accept that when there is an imbalance among us, that certain things must be in flux in order to bring the overall people to a state of progress. Our entire world will never be at peace. That could be examined from a statistical, sociological, political, and philosophical standpoint, and you’d create at least one hundred different stimulating debates on the “how” and the “why.” In the end, change is part of being human. It is something we all must accept, whether it be for the worse or the better.
I don’t know what we’re headed for. It frightens me. My father always said “if you’re not angry, then you’re not paying attention.” So we need to be ready for whatever’s coming. Change is progress. All we can do is hope that we are prepared to handle it. Not that we even know what that really means until it happens.