Saying No

A lot of my Facebook friends were posting and reposting an article from the Onion: “Fuck Everything, Nation Reports.” I can understand the despair in this uncharacteristically unfunny article. But I respectfully have to say no.

“Fuck Everything” has been a mantra of my teen years, then seeping into my young adulthood, corroding everything I value and turning every desire to take positive action into a frustrated, impotent rage. No thanks. Not anymore.

With every senseless tragedy that happens I find another piece of my old anger falling away. Why not the opposite? Because I’ve been there, and it leads nowhere. Accepting the fact that tragic, senseless things happen and are part of the human condition is in itself not a negative thing, unless you allow it to progress into despair. Acceptance leads to action. I fear everything, I live in dread of any number of things my imagination can conjure, and my imagination is strong. But I also prepare, I plan, and ultimately, I accept.

So no, I’m not going to say I give up on humanity, or that the world sucks. Because I already knew that the world sucks—in part. I also already knew that the world is a beautiful place, where life returns again and again no matter where it is snuffed out, nor how badly it is crushed. That’s a solid fact, not a sentiment. And I think a little distance will show us that humanity is in fact, decent at the core. Where else do you think your outrage comes from?

Here’s what I will do instead: I will redouble my efforts to be a better person. I will stop the selfishness that’s prevented me from seeing the needs of others, I will stop wallowing in my own misery. I will set aside the petulant “why me” attitude, and recognize the wealth I already have. And then I will share that with others, to the degree that I know how. Because in the face of overwhelming evil, all you can really do is roll up your sleeves and get to work.

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