Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
We Americans are standing in the crowded elevator of our nation—staring at the numbers for someplace to look, holding our bodies stiff so we don’t offend anyone with our touch. We learned how to do this as a function of polite civilization. We ignore those around us to give them—and us—space. In our space, we found loneliness—isolation.
But recent events have had a strange and wonderful effect. We suddenly looked around (in person and by social media) and saw we were surrounded by other human beings. We saw tragic stories and heroic stories, hatred and love, the best and worst of humankind. We were shocked and amazed at once. No one is alone—not the good or the evil, the wise or the foolish.
Many of us currently feel fear—perhaps for the first time—fear of the future, fear of being overwhelmed by those who don’t care about us or our values, of being shoved aside, of being trampled. I think of a scene in the 1992 film THUNDERHEART with Val Kilmer and Graham Greene. They were trapped in a canyon by several armed, corrupt agents ready to shoot the heroes down to protect their own mercenary interests. In the final, desperate moments, the good people of the reservation appeared above and behind the heroes, also armed, in numbers that blanketed the ridge. The people’s cavalry had arrived.
We are only beginning to comprehend the power of the masses when they act together. Most of us are too young to personally recall Ghandi or even Martin Luther King as they inspired followers to stand unarmed against what seemed to be greater force. We learned about the triumphant consequences of those resistances. “United We Stand” is more than a pretty phrase, and the concept is still effective.
On a smaller scale, each of us struggles to make a path through life. If you believe you’re on that elevator, you may assume your options are limited. You’re trapped. You have to let someone else run the buttons. But look around. See the fascinating human stories surrounding you. You have teachers and helpers waiting for you to see them. You can find cheerleaders or partners or friends. Others are in the midst of the same struggle you face. Answers you never dreamed may be lying just beyond your sight. At the very least, you may find understanding.
Or you may be the missing spark in someone else’s project. You have the information, energy, or talent someone else needs. You may be able to supply an essential shot of caring. I’ve spent way too much time wary of being dependent on…anyone. I know now that was a fool’s task. We need one another…now and always. We need those who think we’re fools. They teach us. They expose us to fires that harden our resolve and polish our skills. Look into the eyes of those around you.
As I publish my second novel, I believe people will hear my voice. I read books for others, trusting that whatever I can contribute to their efforts is worthwhile because we’re meant to help one another. The acts of creating and helping are the message, as are acts of standing together for what we believe is right. The cavalry is here as it has always been, and it is us.