(The original photos can be seen at TIME Magazine Top 100 Photos 2017. The renderings here were created by the author of this blog.)
This morning, I bruised through all my news feeds. I vary the list. From the BBC, to CNN. Reuters. TIME, The Washington Post, and the New York Times. A few varied others. But that is my basic reading at the first clip of the day.
Sometimes, what is “breaking” at 3:30 a.m., is much different at 8:30 a.m. when I finally sit down to breakfast. Nonetheless, for an hour or less, I give those “feeds” a chew. Sometimes I spit them back out. Other times, I swallow the thing en masse. Mostly, I take it with a healthy helping of salt. Not just a grain, but a whole big shaker.
However, today it has affected me profoundly. I spent a great deal of time, looking over TIME’s Top 100 Photos from 2017. With each photo, was a caption. I read every single one. If there was a name, I tried to repeat it a couple of times. Mostly in remembrance.
The biggest portion of those photos contained Human Tragedy.
Terrible human suffering and tragedy.
We, as a society, have become desensitized to this. We see so much news, so many videos, and feeds. We fly by these photos, these words, these names. They are in a distant place. In a city, we do not know, or somewhere we do not plan on going. They occurred at a time…. which, by the Grace of God or Father Timex …. we were not present. They are News Stories, sure. But to us, they are almost distant fiction.
But these photos. Today.
There were two boys. They were 12- and 11-years old. They held each other, sobbing. Their names were Zeid and Hodayfa. They were probably playing. Maybe kicking a ball, back an forth. And suddenly, their house was hit by an explosion. The cause was fighting, between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants. The house collapsed, and their family members were there, buried in the rubble. Their fathers & mothers, their sisters, their grandparents. Just feet away, under feet of concrete, glass, and stone. I can tell you. From that moment on, their lives had completely changed. This was in Mosul. How many of us even know where to point on the map, to where those boys are sitting? Weeping. How many of us take the time, to consider what we are seeing? To feel the loss, the injustice, the corruption, cruelty, tyranny, prejudice, discrimination, the terrible wrong? Most of the time, we don’t.
Maybe we should.
And right now. You might be sitting there, thinking, “What is the point? What can we do about it? Why internalize all that pain and suffering, if there is not a thing we can do?”
So maybe we shouldn’t.
But. Here is what I think. We can’t save the whole world. We can’t even save a whole neighborhood. And when you come right down to it, the only thing we can actually control is ourselves. We can only control our responses and reactions to the things which are ALL around us. That’s it.
So my suggestion is this. (And I need a big dose of my own medicine here, I can assure you.)
We start reacting with kindness to the world around us. We do ONE thing which is in front of us today, and we show someone GENUINE love and care. Not just someone we know and love and care about already. But someone we don’t know. We do not pass judgment on them. We simply offer them sincere kindness.
And what if every single one of us in the world would do that? Right now. I bet the Planet Earth would lose such a heavy drudge, that it might fall off its axis.
Maybe today, we should give the Earth a might spin.
“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
“You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.”
― C. JoyBell C.
“The planet is fine. The people are fucked.”
― George Carlin