Another day, another search through news headlines, Youtube videos, TV news, on the spot reports, to find some hope that the war will end, that right will triumph over might. Wion, and BBC, Caspian Report and Sky News, The Guardian and Daily Mail, The Times and CNN, Fox News and the rest, are all grist to this pointless mill.
It’s called the fog of war, and the fruitless search for encouraging news is an attempt to find comfort.
Someone said to me the other day that she didn’t watch the news as part of her ‘self-care”. I didn’t bother to watch for years, either, but to opt out of this trauma which is convulsing so much of the world now would seem like a cop-out to me. I’m part of the human race, so I have to be in. We are living through history.
Anger, despair, sadness, are all emotions that seem to swamp my formerly peaceful world, as they are doing for most decent compassionate people throughout the world.
Feeling the pain of Ukrainean families fleeing, of grieving relatives, seeing shattered cities, watching demoralised Russian soldiers, cheering at the courage and triumph of the men and women resisting the bullying, the bombing, the brutality, doesn’t help those suffering, but leaves me/us feeling helpless, as well as all the other emotions.
To be forced to be a spectator, and watch all the conflicting opinions, analyses, predictions, and vacillations of pundits and politicians and retired generals feels, if not shameful, then ignoble.
So for me it means facing the pain and shame, rather than trying to pretend that life is okay in my happy little world. Because it isn’t.
My world is now part of the global village, and we are all connected, not just through pain and misery and anger and horror, but through the internet, and podcasts and news reports and cell phones, and through supply lines, and delivery chains, which mean rising prices, and inexplicable shortages from olive oil to lemons to building materials or Italian tomatoes.
Yet life does go on for those lucky enough to live in a place like New Zealand, or Iceland, and so in the end, I have to feel gratitude. And in the light of the world’s suffering, not just in Ukraine, but in so many other places, gratitude seems a gigantic travesty.
So having talked myself into a corner, I have to resolve to make the place where I stand the kindest, purest, most honest and most decent place possible. I can only love my corner of the world and try to share love to add to the goodness in the world, and not get bogged down in the pain of the world.
Philosopher Martin Buber said,”You can rake the muck this way, rake the muck that way …. In the time I am brooding over it, I could be stringing pearls for the delight of Heaven”. He’s right. Yes, brooding is a waste of time, so I will try to string pearls instead of futile brooding over the tragedy of Ukraine – pearls of love and kindness and a little laughter.