I’ve just seen “The Hurt Locker,” after resisting it for months. I could tell from what I’d read and heard about it, that it deserved every accolade that it was given; but I was afraid of how I would feel when presented, once again, with a realistic depiction of the viciousness of what people are capable of doing to one another. Of course I shed tears, but this time they weren’t so much about the sadness and the pain of being human when being human seems mainly to mean: being most capable of tearing apart one’s own home.
Yes, I’m one of those people who thinks of the Earth as our seemingly vast, but ultimately tiny home. We can neglect the garden, the furnace, the gutters. We can put our fists through the walls when we’re angry, and let the blood dry on the plaster. We can figure out thousands of ways to torture anyone who walks by or ventures into the wrong room. But we’ll be damned if we’ll come together, en masse, on the side of any issue that will make us truly whole and give honor to us as a species. I cried because I was angry. I was angry because in our recent past, a certain person ran for president of the United States, and one of the things he was derided for by other candidates, was his idea that our government should have a Department of Peace. Why is war so precious to some of us, that peace repels them?
My anger comes from feeling sure that I’m right. And as far as I can see now, that’s the most universal thing that we humans share. The main difference is between the seeming few who refuse to hurt anyone purposely for their cause — and those who will.
I cried because I know that I’ll think of these things and how easily they can be ignored or argued with by someone who disagrees, and I know that I’ll make some dinner and be sure to watch something lighter on television to take my mind off these worries. I’ll think of something fun to say later, and I’ll have conversations about fashion and flavor. Tomorrow I may listen to music, practice a new crochet stitch, and decide if I should eat less sugar or add a different exercise to my morning workout. And I’ll know that none of these things is an invalid use of time. Living an intentionally horrific life does nothing to respect those among us who have been wronged and hurt beyond the comprehension of the average person. These things that we take time for, are the same kinds of things that we all want the opportunity to choose from — self care, self expression, the comforts of art. We each already have the opportunity and the individual right, to choose how we think about both the world around us, and the rest of it that is far from our vantage point. Peace would make all of this clearer, but we can’t wait for it to fall down from the heavens and grace us. Peace is a thing we have to learn how to make.