Sometimes I just want to shut down all the negative news and focus on the task ahead. Is that escapism?
If I don’t react to post that are designed to create outrage, does it mean that I am numb?
What if I do not want to bear the burden of condemning injustice and expressing solidarity with the oppressed? What if I just want to keep my head down and quietly make my contribution from this tiny corner of the universe? Does it create better impact than than continuously running an iCondemn service?
As the poet Jack Gilbert said in A Brief for the Defense
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth all the years of sorrow that are to come.
Have you ever felt this burden of emotions? Have you ever felt conflicted at being happy while a friend suffers through a hard time?