Monday, November 28, 2016

Fear and Bridges, Kol HaOlam Kulo

  In my nearly eight years of blogging, I've never felt stuck like this. It's not a "writer's block" stuck. That one's easily cured by a brisk walk or a nice, warm chocolate chip cookie. Or two. [Okay, three, and then I'll stop for now.] No, this sensation resists a quick fix. It's more profound and contentious than that.  
   "Go write through it," I tell myself, watching my fingers meander the keyboard. "Go . . . write . . . through . . . it." But how? What do I write? Back to sillies? More dating-fails? Pretend life goes on as usual?
   Dears, I'm scared. I'm scared for humankind; scared for myself; scared for my loving nephew; scared because the number of visits to Out of the Darkness (for suicide prevention) keeps rapidly increasing; scared of much more than I can articulate. And this damn fear creeps in, time and again, dropping me into a numbed stupor followed by brief bouts of tears. 
   There's a song in Hebrew: "Kol HaOlam Kulo." I learned it decades ago, and it's been sung widely for centuries. The hymn's message is this: "All the world is a narrow bridge. The most important thing is to not be afraid." That translation never quite worked for me, though, because fear is human. Instead, I take from the song: "The most important thing is to not be stopped by fear." 
   And so I won't. I haven't. We won't, and we can't. There's too much at stake. We need to realize that the elite few want to keep us not only paralyzed in fear, but divided as well. 
   We need to push through fear together, to manifest and appreciate moments of humankindness. It was in every earnest fist bump and "I'll miss you too" that I received before Thanksgiving from teen boys who'd been  demoted to alternative high school for "delinquent" behaviors. It's in a child's handwritten sign on the front lawn of a Berkeley Elementary School: "Love trumps hate." It's in my friend Ken's message from across the country and the other side of a false political divide: "Don't be scared pretty lady. Keep writing."
   Humankindness. Community. Love. It's our most powerful weapon for building bridges that will ultimately lead to a better world. Together and in spite of fear, that's not just our challenge. It's the most important thing.
  

58 comments:

  1. Beautiful song!! It also makes me think of some scripture passages that always stuck with me. Isiah 41:10 Do not fear,for i am with you, do not be afriad for i am your God, i will strengthen you , i will help you, i will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
    I grew up Catholic and attended catholic schools up until high school. My favorite song to see in mass was Be Not afraid: be not afraid, i come before you always, come follow me and i will give you rest. ( matthew verse from bible). Both are comforting to me. I'm sorry you're feeling burdened with fear my friend. The world is filled with terrible sad news everyday. we have to be the light and the change in the world. Your humor is wonderful and it brings light and happiness. Sending you big hugs!

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    1. It's pretty awesome how much the world's main religions have in common, Holli. Thanks for sharing those verses.
      Love and hugs to you.

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  2. It's a tough time. Remember that the cracks are where the light shines in. :)

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    1. I like that. Thanks so much, Shoshanah.
      Love and light to you.

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  3. Be confident that you, Robyn, and all allies of good faith, are equal to the task.

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    1. Your comments mean so much to me, especially this one. Thank you, Debra.

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  4. I haven't written much lately either. My personal life is fairly crappy right now and it's hard to come up with funnies and I would not want to read about the crappiness of someone's life all the time so I am not going to do the same to others.

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  5. Keep the faith and continue to show support and kindness in all we do. It's always darkest before the dawn - we'll just keep pressing forward. YOU keep pressing forward. And press the keyboard as well.

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    1. I will, Alex. Thank you.

      I'm sorry, Ruth. Keeping you in my thoughts. Cyber hugs.

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  6. Tiny steps. Baby steps.
    Kindness and love are everywhere - including in places currently hidden.
    Hugs.

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    1. Yes, I started writing about the media's way of only showing us things that will inflame. But that got too lengthy.
      So much kindness is all around, even though we don't see it. Thank you, EC.

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  7. I am worried and frightened too about what might come next in our country. I do ultimately have faith that love will win out, though. Hugs to you, Robyn.

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    1. Love will most certainly win out, Connie. It always does. Unlike hate, love is eternal.
      Hugs back to you, Connie.

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  8. I have yet to find my way out of a deep dark funk. Hoping to bump into you in the dark so we can hold hands until we make things better. Hey - we could still hold hands even when things are better.

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    1. Yes, hon. If only I could reach through the computer screen. For now, we'll symbolically hold hands through the dark and light. We're here for each other.

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  9. Thanks for the song link, beautiful. I am worried but less than I was on the day after the election. There is still plenty to worry about but Trump has backed off a lot of his "promises." I just hate that I'm living in a reality TV world. I didn't blog at all during the election but finally wrote about my feelings on Thanksgiving...

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    1. I wouldn't be so worried, Sage, were it not for every one of his cabinet picks. It's even worse than Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

      I'm glad you like the song. That Youtube video is guaranteed inspire and uplift.

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  10. Like a bridge over troubled water . . .

    I cried every day for two weeks. Now I'm not crying. I go silently forth into the darkness, where I carry my light.

    Love,
    Janie

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  11. It's so difficult to not feel overwhelmed with hopelessness. But if you live long enough in many parts of the worlds, there are so many reasons to have those same feelings (nothing to do with Trump). You've got good moral support (just read those previous comments). Me? Like Janie Junebug, I will continue to carry my light. Find yours again, sweetheart!

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    1. Thank you, dear man. I have. It just dims sporadically, you know? But all these words of care and support help me shine. Love to you.

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  12. After a difficult few weeks --which included brief hospitalization, plumbing failure, telephone problems and an incidental election disappointment-- your post has got me smiling again, and levitating back up to a narrow bridge. You're remarkable. Thank you.

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    1. Oh Geo, sorry for all your stress the past few weeks. But I'm so glad to have brought a smile to your face and hopefulness to your heart. I think you're remarkable too.

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  13. What a soulful tune. I'm glad it's keeping your spirits up, Robyn. I usually hum 'Home on the Range' when I'm feeling down.

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    1. "Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day." The only problem for me, GB, is that I hear Alfalfa singing it. His voice isn't all that soothing.

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  14. "Don't be scared pretty lady. Keep writing." FOLLOW THAT ADVICE!!

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  15. How right you are: Human kindness is the most important thing.

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    1. Thank you, Stephen. Corny as it sounds, it's true.

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  16. Wowsers, I hope you're right. To me, my cynicism has been reawakened and distrust and anger, reactivated. My mistake for letting that relax for even a moment. Back to funneling my world view through a filter of caution, piss and vinegar. All the more reason to write.

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    1. Yes, all the more reason to write. And write we shall do, in massive volumes. Piss and vinegar on the side or atop, we shall go write through it.

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  17. Have to keep on keepin on no matter what comes due, even through the crap. Fear has always been there by the elite few to keep the masses in line, but the one thing to remember is we do live in the safest time on record. All this crap has happened before and it will all happen again, just with the internet and the news we hear about it way more. And the only thing that gets ratings is the bad news, which is why it is all we hear. The world is crap, but it's been far worse. Can it be again? Sure. But will it? Who knows.

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    1. Wise words, Pat. Thank you. It brings to mind this quote:
      "I am only one. I cannot do everything but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do."
      -Edward Everett Hale (I captured the sentiment, if not the exact words.)

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  18. I couldn't agree more, Robyn! Kindness, compassion, love...all these build strong bridges that lead to a better world. Keep the faith, sweet lady!

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  19. This blog and any reach out you do is important - whether it is a serious post or a silly one. The thing I'm trying to keep in mind is that most people are good, most people are trying hard to just move along in life and care for family, friends, etc. I think way too much of the bad stuff and bad people get the press - that's where the money shots are. It's fine to worry but also stay in touch, do smile, and take that brisk walk/ eat a cookie. I'm with you kid-o!!!

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    1. Yes, it's all about money shots, or that's what the elite few believe. But the rest of us know otherwise. Thank you, Joanne. Cyber hugs.

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  20. Where there is life there is hope and I'm not dead yet. We'll keep doing the right thing and living the right way and love will really trump hate in the end.

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    1. In the words of John Lennon: "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

      Thank you, friend.

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  21. Maybe that's why I have felt so stuck this year. Fear of the future, which has gotten worse since the election. I haven't been able to do hardly anything except read and cross stitch. I hope things get better soon for all of us.

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  22. I am so empathetic to your fears. We hear of the negative nastiness daily...all day really. I truly believe that there is more good than evil in our world but the good typically doesn't make the headlines. The kind and generous spirits of the world don't feel the need to grandstand but they are out there.

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    1. There IS so much more good and kindness in the world, Cheryl. Power is in the hands of the greedy few. If only we could start completely anew or have children rule the earth. That would be fun. Thank you for your sweet words. We're here for each other.

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  23. Fear can cripple the mind, the body and the soul. During uncertain times, these fears can come out even more and before we know it, they can surround us. Some times the only things that keep us going are the silly things we write because this keeps us going. What you write is the sword that slays the dragon called fear. We all have days where we feel overwhelmed and that's ok. Tomorrow you will find that pen and slay that dragon or at least hurt that mean dragon with your boundless humour. When you least expect, something sweet will happen that will strengthen your soul.

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    1. I like your attitude, Birgit. Thank you. It's true too - beauties and magic abound, and that dragon is just a big, fat, orange scared bully itself. Love to you.

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  24. I've said it before, all we have is each other. Luckily, the majority of us are good.
    Keep writing, pretty lady!

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  25. December is the perfect time to show that love, too.

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  26. Keep the Faith, my friend. Do what you do best, be selfless but don't forget to be selfish too. Sometimes it takes some downtime to remember all the good that still exists in the world and that good starts with you. Love you!

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  27. I love all the support you're getting here, and I'm chiming in with mine too. Hugs to you from me. And you didn't get thwarted on your writing, this was very powerful writing.

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  28. I've been pretty cynical for while, and I think it's based on fear of our future. I'm going to try to snap out of it now. I'm glad I just read this, because it came at a perfect time.
    You are great person and very creative. I'm sure you will get it going soon. This post was a fantastic start! Thanks...

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    1. I'm honored, Pat. Yes, we'll both turn fear into something positive and proactive and beautiful.
      Thank you so much. You're pretty amazing yourself.

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  29. What a beautiful message, and so true. Thank you for sharing!

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