It’s interesting how the world has suddenly gotten so stiflingly close. Often we can’t even have the “How’s the weather?” conversation without it bringing up a boatload of anxiety, angst, ploitical indignation and possible guilt that will likely end in an argument, as if the whole population is on the brink of divorce with no place to go.
I think it may be doubly bad because of that very fact: like bubbles trapped in ice, there is no place to go. But before I get to that point, let’s backtrack.
As mentioned before, I basically grew up in a crotchety old church. Though beloved, the atmosphere was mostly less than ideal. My parents are pretty stubborn when it comes to change, though, and perhaps rightfully so. My family could trace their ancestry of attendance there for nearly a hundred years. In many ways, they felt they had a right to the place, much more so, in their opinion, than the grumpy and verbally-abusive people who had shown up and infected the community like a virus. Trying the other parish down the road was not even considered; it was expected we stick out the issues and wait for it to pass, as one does a food poisoning or flu.
That was the mindset I grew up with, though I suspect the place was likely ailing with some other batch of unnecessary meanness even before I showed up in my lace socks and fancy dresses, fidgeting on kneelers and eating cereal from my place in the pew. No matter how bright your rainbow, there’s always at least one grumpy crayon in the box. And grumpy crayons can dull any color if colored over, no matter how bright the picture you start with.
I saw a lot of people come and go from my spot in the bench, and I can’t say, in all of my time there, I ever actually saw someone go because of beliefs. It’s kind of surprising, if I think of it; there’s a lot of crazy stuff on the record books that are a hard sell if you haven’t grown up with it, but overall, no one ever really seems to care about all that, that I can think of.
It seemed to me people left more on account of intimacy becoming sour or inadequate, when people’s general lack of consideration had worn them down and the desire for justice got mixed with a demand for retribution. The ability to leave is a luxury people are used to manipulating. There’s an implied mobility which compensates when people do not or are not cared for, when a place or person lacks growth, respect or love, or perhaps even, when they demand too much.
And that’s the thing; when the whole world’s connected, there’s no place to go. We’re forced to interact with people we don’t understand, who in normal circumstances we wouldn’t even meet in polite company. We are misunderstood for saying things that in small communities wouldn’t even catch a glance. We look at the number of views afforded to big celebrities and feel there’s no opportunity for our little pages, overwhelmed by problems affecting 7 billion people in every part of the world. In isolated neighborhoods, achievements were manageable, the illusion of importance easier to come by.
It’s a weird world sometimes, and until we manage the colony on Mars scientists are so wistfully hoping for, we’re stuck here.
(Well, most of us. My name is going to Mars in May on a tiny microchip, along with the names of a couple million other people, though that’s mostly inconsequential and just an excited nerd brag.)
But yeah, I can see and feel the frustration. If you ever watch soap bubbles stuck together, they don’t move in a nice way. One pops and the whole thing shifts with an unpleasant, jerky movement, like too many people stuffed in an elevator. We might be a bit like that now. Pointing out faults is great when you can or need to leave. But if you’re stuck together, it’s probably better to pick out the positive and work on building that up so that it naturally squishes the unpleasant things out of existence, instead of just trying to tear them out. As they say, nature abhors a vacuum. One of the best gifts we could give the next generation is a more understanding and loving world.
Still, we all need a little support sometimes. Here’s a video I filmed of bubbles freeing themselves as ice melts, which to me is about the visual equivalent of popping bubble wrap. And yes, though ice is melting at our poles and the weather is worrisome…though the bubbles technically leave the ice when they get to the surface, it’s good to note that they have space to move within the ice first, and it’s pretty nice to watch them do so.
Love does that, I think. Love frees people to move within their sphere of influence. It makes it nice to watch them move. And, as they say, love melts…