Few memories of my childhood survive in my mind. I am not sure exactly why. There are, from time to time, flashbacks of things, moments and people. But, by and large I find myself wanting when it comes to recalling great swaths of my childhood memories.
For the armchair therapists out there reading this piece I’d prefer not to receive unsolicited diagnosis from you about why this is the way it is. I’ve spent 53 years on the planet happily stupefied at the phenomenon and I suspect I will do so with the remaining 47 years of my life.
One vivid memory, however, that comes back to me from time to time are those moments when the world around me seemed too close. Times when the troubles, the fears, the anxieties and the uncertainties simply overwhelmed me.
What all of those things were that did that to me– I do not always recall.
Those that I do– I choose not to share on this forum.
Be that as it may be– I carry with me from those youthful moments to today as an adult –the same need to find solace and comfort at times of trouble, fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
I would be happy, I suppose, if I found them in an inspirational poem or internet meme or quote.
But, I don’t.
I do find comfort, at times, in prayer. Perhaps it is the simple offering up to God nothing more profound than sharing my troubled heart and mind with Him and knowing that calms me. But, I know God is busy and that my prayers aren’t a reciprocal trade. My own free will requires me to do some of the heavy lifting on Earth while God is tending to those who have far greater needs than I do.
Which is why, for as long as I can remember, I have found that the greatest form of therapy and comfort and solace can be found in something as simple as…
Or, depending on the severity of my discomfort, multiple pillows.
In earlier versions of myself I would assemble myself my like a hot dog and surround myself with pillow buns.
Laugh if you must, but before you do I would encourage you to try it.
I am not sure what the therapeutic elements of a being a “hot dog in a bun” with pillows but it seemed to do the trick.
Today, we live in a world that seems to be closing in on us. It is almost as if the well-worn Disney song “It’s a small world, after all.” is not such an innocent ode to youthful optimism and joy.
The social networks that promise to bring us all closer together really haven’t done what they promised.
They’ve made us angrier. More fitful. A new world order rife with great fabulists.
We’ve coined phrases like “fake news” that now includes news which is truly not real and news that we simply choose to label as fake if it doesn’t align with our personal narratives.
The very fact that you may actually be reading this is testament to how far we’ve come. That I can write things that people read today that 10 years ago the only way they would have been read by more than a small circle of friends was to have it published in a newspaper is evidence of that.
I live in the same world as everyone else. My life experience is clearly not the same as everyone else.
My reaction to the world we all live in is likely not the same, either.
I don’t know what the answer is to a world that seems on fire.
The history buff in me tells me that it is no more on fire today than it was two-hundred years ago. In truth, there is plenty of evidence to inform me that it is far less on fire than anytime in thousands of years.
But, the 24/7/365 drone of information has trained my eyes and ears to trick my brain into believing that the worst is upon us, and worse is yet to come.
We all have an obligation – no matter where in the world we are – or what our politics and ideology may be – to figure out how we keep the world from being as bad as it seems to be.
Even if it isn’t nearly as bad as it seems.
Because there are those in the world, near and far, who want to go beyond creating the perception that the world is coming apart to actually make it come apart.
The world needs our attention. It needs us to care. In whatever way we can and should.
Our own existence and that of future generations obligates us to doing something more than simply almost doing something.
You have a role in doing something more than almost something.
As do I.
I can find ways to act to change the world around me – near and far – and I remain committed to doing so.
As for how I deal with the lump in my throat and the shortening of breath every time I see and hear about another act of evil that people do unto others.
I need a plan.
So, until I devise a better one that will bring peace to the world, end poverty and suffering and heal our planet I will rely on an old standby from my youth to calm my fears and anxieties.