Monday, December 21, 2015

I'm doing the best I can

I'm writing this more for myself than anybody else so please pardon the self-indulgence. Of course, if you get something out of it, that's great. But sometimes, I need to tell myself things with words (and be able to refer to those words later) by writing them out. This is one of those.

Things are just at a generally shitty level of bad right now. At least they seem to be. I don't remember a time when fear and the resultant tension were so prevalent. Maybe that's just a perception, fed by overwhelming waves of negativity foisted on us by the all the various sources of media with which we surround ourselves. Frankly, the fact that more people aren't running around screaming with their eyes bugged out (literally or metaphorically) when so many are, actually gives me hope. But yeah, this current cloud of a nasty mood sure seems to be palpable and pervasive, as invisible-yet-real as humidity.

I refuse to surrender to that.

I'm not perfect but I'm committed to being a force for good. I fight back against all this hatred and mistrust and mendacity with the few, limited resources I have at my disposal.

Granted, that ain't much.

I try to amuse and entertain with what I share here and I do stand-up comedy in front of less than a dozen people sometimes. That's about it, really.
Sometimes, that's discouraging, but it's the best I can offer so I can't afford to let it drag me down. If a couple of people get a chuckle at something they read here, that's fine. If those dozen (or fewer) people put aside their differences, point their chairs toward me and laugh at anything I have to say for a couple of minutes, that's great. It's not much, but it's something. At the risk of coming off like I'm taking myself too seriously, I believe that to be able to make even small, incremental nudges toward making people happy (or happier) is something of a calling and there's a responsibility that comes with it. That's something I sincerely believe and I also see it as an honor and a privilege. My reach may be limited but my scope is vast.

Beyond that, all I can do is preach the value of empathy and pledge to try to be as empathetic as possible myself.

For example, I disagree STRONGLY on most major points with people who want to keep immigrants out of the country. But do I understand why they're fearful and why they might feel a need to take drastic measures to protect themselves? Absolutely! I can totally see where they're coming from! I disagree... again, STRONGLY... with virtually all of their ideas.
But I get it. Honestly, I do.

That's empathy. A willingness to simply try to understand where your opponent is coming from. I honestly believe that the lack of it is our single biggest obstacle right now. Because you simply can't have a meaningful, productive conversation about important matters without it and we have more than enough proof that screaming over each other isn't accomplishing anything at all.

A SIMPLE TEST: If you believe "(Insert the name of group who hold an opinion that opposes yours, like 'conservatives' or 'liberals') are stupid", your empathy game is too weak for you to be of any use to anyone. Work on that and try again.

I don't know, maybe I'm just a dumb guy with unrealistic hopes and some fart jokes. It's all I've got, though. So until I smarten up or something better comes along, I'll be over here doing the best I can.

1 comment:

Cheryl Williams said...

Clark...hey! Visited your blog today (amongst others) while taking a proverbial stroll down the memory lane of my old blog entries. Ha. Funny you mention perhaps needing to "refer back to your words later"-- as I am feeling nostalgic myself here lately. Guess it's that time of year. Anyway thanks again for inviting me to guest on your blog awhile back. A budding writer like myself; I was thrilled.

Well. If laughter is food for the soul, likewise tears quench the heart. Honestly. In my private thoughts I also wonder how folks, including myself, manage to "keep sane" amid all the crazy whirling around an otherwise topical existence. It's like being in the eye of the storm sometimes. So many senseless killings and bigotry. People will rob they're own mothers and everything is a "reality" TV show. Being humane requires a certain degree of empathy -- and yet perhaps a certain degree of apathy keeps us sane? Seems these are the ironies of life. Either way what you shared is your truth. And in the same way, it will inspire others to stay true to themselves and their humanity too. No matter what dark forces are at play in this world, the best way to give 'um the finger is by continuing to doing our best and never compromising who we are!