Crisis in Blogsville

Last Sunday evening a bolt of lightening hit our modem and we’ve been internetless ever since.
While that incident has certainly crimped my blogging, it hasn’t been insurmountable.
However, recent events have led to a Crisis in Blogsville. The Silly Season has morphed into The Serious Season and suddenly my frivilious little postings seem pointless.
As a society we live in denial of the fact that we have so little control of our destinies. Running around making plans and using up each day like a disposable tissue: yanking it from the box as if the supply will never run out. But there is no guarantee that the day you opened your eyes to will be the one that you close your eyes to at night. So much can happen in an instant, reality can turn on a dime. When something monumental happens I often think “When I woke up this morning, I had no idea that this would happen”. Nobody ever does.
I have made a conscious decision to stay away from the news. It could be described as wilful ignorance or ostrich imitation. But I figure that most of what the news media serves up to us is cheap and ugly thrills. I do agree that it’s important to be informed and I am slightly embarrassed that I can’t even name the NSW Premier (I caught him on TV the other morning and I’ve forgotten his name again. Sorry Mum). But voraciously slurping up details of murder and cruelty does not help me become a better person.
Which is why I surprised myself by becoming caught up in news-checking a few days ago during the “Sydney Siege”. When it comes to noteworthy news items, I suppose I am fairly parochial. But hey, I know where the Lindt cafe is. I have been to the Lindt cafe. The ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes certainly increases empathy. The horrific ordeal endured by the hostages touched a nerve with many Australians and indeed many people around the world. I have thought a lot about the image of those hands against the glass and the idea of them being so visible yet so untouchable at the same time. There was a sense of powerlessness – even with a battalion of armed and armoured police just metres away those people were as vulnerable as baby birds in a nest. In a sense, we are always on the wrong side of the glass. The news brings images of human beings in desperate moments, summoning our human responses – our empathy, our compassion, our desire to help and to comfort and to soothe – but gives us no way of acting on those emotions. Merely observing the parade of human suffering from behind the glass is frustrating and disempowering.
I want to do more, but I am not brave. I’m afraid of the ugly side of humanity. I avoid confrontation and dirty toilets. My challenge is to help more.

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