Our Story Begins:
A World Gone Mad
I had to break down this week and talk to my kids about the world.
They think it’s gone mad.
In some ways, they might be right. In the last few months . . . hell the last few days . . . things have been insane.
First, there’s the world itself. We forget attacks on Paris, Belgium, and most recently the airport in Turkey. Random acts of terror that are designed to scare the hell out of us. My nephew won’t go to the shopping mall because he’s afraid . . . not of the people who go there but the fact that it might get attacked.
This week alone, two African-Americans were killed by police officers in completely different cities, one in Minnesota and another in Louisiana.
Then came Dallas. As I write this a city where I worked, lived, and have friends who I know were working Thursday night into Friday evening, was under attack. I know my friends, as guns fired, like the officers protecting people on the street, had to run into the areas where guns were firing in order to do their jobs and tell the world what is happening.
So my kids wanted to know if the world has gone mad.
But it hasn’t. Maybe, more appropriately, the world was always mad.
Let me just give you some context because when I was my sons’ age, 13, this is what was going on in the world:
We were in a “Cold War.” You may scoff at this, but we worried that the Russians were going to attack or we would attack them. “Nuclear Winter,” “Acid Rain,” and other after-effects of hundreds of mushroom clouds blooming on the horizon were always sitting there in the backs of our minds.
Yet we managed to have birthdays, parties, go on dates . . . and live.
In 1983 I was the age my twin sons are now, 13. In that year:
– A suicide bomber attacked a Marine barracks in Beiruit
– A suicide bomber attacked the US Embassy in Beiruit
– Both the US and French Embassys were bombed in Kuwait.
– Russia was in the middle of a protracted war . . . in Afghanistan
Planes exploded, people hijacked planes to go to Libya and Cuba, and Iran was now an Islamic state.
Yet we managed to have birthday parties, go on dates, celebrate, fall in love . . . and live.
I can give you perspective, at least from a personal basis. Five years ago as the world swirled around us in seeming chaos, our own personal worlds joined the maelstrom when my wife passed away. We could have gone with the depression and the sadness and then fallen into the same despair that is easy to embrace when you look at what’s going on in the world.
What do you tell your kids then?
Fear of something that may or may not ever happen will take over your life. We could have faced nuclear holocaust but we didn’t. We didn’t live like it was imminent, we knew it might be, but it wasn’t going to stop us. We could have worried terrorists were going to attack us . . . after Locherbie . . . after Oklahoma City . . . after 9/11 . . . after Ataturk. But look . . . people are having birthday parties, going on dates, celebrating, falling in love . . . and living.
No matter what, who, when or why fault lies one thing is consistent and that is those around us who live, love, and care about us. Our mantra after losing my wife has and always will be “we’re stronger together than when we’re apart.” Truer words could not be spoken, particularly today.
Even if the world’s falling apart, we celebrated birthdays, went on dates, fell in love . . . and we live.