Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Bubble

I often say that I live in a bubble.  I don’t watch horror movies and  I don’t watch the news (two things which are pretty much the same thing in my book).  I am torn between wanting and needing to be aware of what is going on in the world and wanting to sleep at night.

I do read the news.   On any given morning, I open up my internet browser to stories about Ebola, ISIS, flu epidemics, war in the Middle East, riots on the streets of the United States, terrorist threats, natural disasters, random shootings, etc. etc.  And every time, I wonder…Am I morally obligated as a member of the human race to stay abreast of every horrible thing that goes on in the world?  A part of me says yes.  If we are all one, if we are all God’s children, then how can I live in relative comfort while so many suffer.

On the other hand, most of the things that go on in the world are outside of my sphere of influence.  I can vote, but politicians are like pharmaceuticals, they might fix one thing but they mess up something else.  None of them have all of the answers and their opinions and loyalties are often complicated by the power and influence of people who have the money to pay for power and influence.
I can donate to relief efforts, which I do.  I donated to the Red Cross in Thailand after the tsunami and Haiti after the earthquake.  I donated funds to a group of children in Africa who needed telescopes.  Here in the United States, I have donated to firefighters, policemen, families in need, animals in danger.  Whenever I see a fundraiser on social media that moves me and makes me feel that I can make a difference in some small way, I am more than willing to contribute.
On a smaller scale, I try to be a source of positive energy (bad days notwithstanding) to the people that I interact with every day, especially my students.  Gandhi said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him”.  I believe, rightly or wrongly, that this is one of the most powerful things anyone can do for the world.  This is the bubble that I choose to live in.  I believe that I can make a difference by being different. 
Today is Christmas Eve, at least it is in the Western World.  It is a day when we all, for a few hours, meditate on peace and love and hope.  My prayers are with all of those around the world who are suffering.  I am grateful to be surrounded by an abundance of family and love and material blessings.  I am grateful for my bubble.