These are stressful days for Am-ericans. The time of year. The times.
Nothing new. There always have been issues that plagued better intentions of our society, but somehow the challenges seem to be magnified by omnipresence of media – with all the sources and platforms available to access information – with most of the messages being depressing.
If satellite, cable and mobile formats aren’t enough, there’s endless and mindless social media making inescapable the shocking and disheartening ills of this era. At any moment, you can scroll down Facebook to find a cop gunning down a Black teenager in the middle of the street, or the aftermath of a sociopath massive slaying of innocent lives at work or play.
You have to deal with that on top of your personal reality that you may be unemployed or underemployed or unappreciated; that your sons and daughters won’t listen to you anymore; that every time you and your significant other talk, it turns into an argument; that you haven’t been feeling well and doctors can’t explain it; it feels like you’re going in circles.
The holiday time of the year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day happens to be the period during which tension and frustrations have always run high. Those who are alone feel even more alone. People running out of answers feel even more desperate. Those who feel they can’t go on feel even more hopelessness.
That malaise is exacerbated by squabbling politicians whose focus is anywhere but on your priorities, mounting global terrorism and threats, the deepening chasm between “haves” and “have nots” a ridiculously high cost of living that suggest NO POOR LIVES MATTER and media that thrives on tragedy and suffering.
Oh, for simpler times.
Remember when we were young. All children back in the day had to worry about was getting the best deal on trading cards deals, making the team, capturing the attention of that unsuspecting special someone of the opposite sex, making grades, dodging the wrath of tenacious parents, what to wear, and how your favorite team would fare this season.
Now, children have to reconcile a 9-year-old boy coerced into an alley and shot dead. Children have to contemplate the possibility of a police officer slamming a girl sitting at her desk in class to the floor. They have to compute the real possibility of a parent not making it home because they became the latest victim of Driving While Black.
They have to wrestle with how a 12-year-old Black boy with a toy gun is shot and killed by police. They have to deal with the everyday pressures of life in the hood on a daily basis – trying to survive off nothing when it seems like those who break away from the status quo prosper. Folks are having nightmares and moving about in constant fear.
That’s a lot y’all. For adults and for children. No doubt, these are extremely stressful times for Americans.
So much for the pressure. How can we cope?
There is no silver bullet. We all experience the same anxiety and angst over horrific incidents and human pain. Moreover, we know the same frustration of feeling such limited capacity in the face of the earnest desire and need to do so much for so many with so little. Here are a few suggestions for coping with these unprecedented circumstances:
• Get in where you fit in to help whenever and however you can. Everybody isn’t destined to be another Dr. King. Do something that makes a difference on your block, in your city, most importantly, in your own household and family.
• Don’t turn the news off. Ignoring cancer won’t make it go away. Be informed so you can function as an educated citizen and voter. Use knowledge gained to determine your level of involvement and to provide foundation for your views.
• Hold everyone in authority accountable. The police chief and cop on the street, the mayor and your pastor, the business community and educators, campaign against and vote down every hypocritical state and national leader. Be vigilant.
• Think and speak positively. There are enough people preaching what can’t happen to change the world and how futile it is to even try. Couch your attitude in the spirit of those who believe NOTHING is too hard for God. Keep the faith.
Remember this…in truth, 95 percent of the things we fear never actually come to fruition. Refuse to live scared. Reject the paralysis of analysis that prompt doubt, fear and vulnerability.
Remember back when you were a child. Your imagination inspired the best thoughts about boundless possibilities. Now your imagination is flooded with grave apprehensions of your best efforts resulting in the worst-case scenario when it comes to the world, national, local and personal issues you confront.
Remember that man can’t do it alone.
The devil is a liar. We can win. We will win. The Lord will work it out because he always does and I don’t have time (or desire) to argue with those who question the existence of God because of their gripes with organized religion.
I know invoking the name of Jesus and the needed discipleship of believers may make some highly-intellectual social scientist drop out of the discussion at this point but I don’t care. It’s the absence of this spiritual inclusion in the equation that has contributed to despair and confusion, perpetuating anarchy and disorganization.
Remember the season for the season – then go out and live by it with faith…and service! You will both feel better and see many troubling circumstances resolved.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECT-ION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City.
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