Above most all things, I prize authenticity, genuineness, originality, honesty and, for lack of a better description, that elusive quality of being “real”. I like people who are comfortable being themselves, and who are kind. Not everyone in the world has to accomplish something magnificent; sometimes simply being one’s self is a masterpiece that will be revealed in due time. The older I become, the more I value simple things … walks in the woods with my dogs, a steaming cup of tea, a good book, traditional hymns in church, sitting in silence.
What I see when I turn on the media in our country today pains my spirit. I don’t think there has ever been a presidential election more filled with despair, certainly not in my life time. The ideals I grew up learning and aspiring towards: self determinism, responsibility, knowledge of one absolute and loving triune God, infinite possibility, the belief that I could do anything in the world that I wanted to even if I couldn’t do everything … these ideas have seemingly all but disappeared from the face of America, where now, the media tells us, we need the government to take care of us, and provide us with the things it thinks we need even as it robs us of self respect, autonomy, and opportunity. Our freedom is disappearing at an alarming rate, and the worst thing is that the vast majority of people not only don’t seem to realize it, they welcome it! Like sheep, they flock together and trust what should never be trusted (the media, the politicians, the popular culture of public opinion) happily bleating the platitudes they have been fed even as they are led away to slaughter.
I feel like a butterfly in a hurricane … there seems not a way to resist this tide, and I realize that the destruction of the America that I grew up believing in may well be inevitable.
I am tired of resisting it. Tired of trying to educate, enlighten and persuade. People who have been through twelve years of public schooling aka NEA indoctrination, not to mention liberal academia, in general, have tightly closed minds even as they value their liberalness. (That word don’t mean what it once did, folks!) People are both polarized and oblivious. There is a LOT of noise being made but not much being said or accomplished except hidden back room agendas aided by the aforementioned sheep.
So I have retreated. I pray a lot. I consider that my first line of both defense and offense, and it comforts me. And I look for the nuggets, the remnants of simple and honorable and real where they might be found.
I recently had a lazy afternoon, and with the change of seasons upon us, was feeling wishful of travel. That isn’t a possibility right now, so to substitute, I found myself initiating Google searches that might yield something different from what America has to offer, a cyber journey of the kind of “off the beaten path” travel that I most enjoy. Scotland was uppermost in my thoughts, so I searched for “Scottish blogs,” “Scottish women bloggers,” “Scotland blog award winners” and so forth. I found dozens of blogs, and followed the blog rolls of one to another to another with increasing frustration. I was hopeful of discovering a legitimate person, someone warm and original, a Rosamunde Pilcher character, someone who might share about dogs, house parties, simmering pots of soup on heart-of-the-home Aga stoves, pheasants, village life, tramping on the moors, people they encountered, drinking, painting, kilts, dancing, history and dogs. (Yes, I realize I listed dogs twice!)
I was so bummed. All that I found was a plethora of the same thing we have in America: politics, technology, strong opinions, labels, criticism, media spin, pop culture superficiality and crime. It’s as if people exist like beads on a string, held back from originality by their proximity to one another.
So much for real and wonderful. Perhaps originality is too much to expect in a world where you can buy a McDonald’s cheeseburger in 123 countries?
However, I’ve been thinking, and it occurred to me that perhaps I am not alone in my quest for authenticity and genuineness.
Was it not Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world?” So I hereby take the challenge that I now issue you:
It doesn’t have to be done perfectly, or all at once. But for heaven sakes, open your hearts and minds to what the Lord intended YOU to be, and be that instead of merely copying whatever segment of what it is around you that you have adopted. Be yourself. You are so incredibly special.
After all, there is only one of each of us.
We should work harder to be ourselves and think twice before we follow the path of the sheep, particularly those sheep who are not being led by the Good Shepherd.
Whose voice are you listening to, anyway?
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27