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Human interaction helps strike balance during unsettling events

Human interaction helps strike balance during unsettling events Human interaction helps strike balance during unsettling events

I must confess right up front, I am a mess. Right when Mother Nature is coming out with her new 2017 edition of spring weather and growth, I am a mess.
Maybe some of you feel as I do. I am caught between the unsettling current events of this world and the rapidly changing technological advances that challenge my old habits and ways of thinking. Political analyst Thomas Friedman has summed me up exactly in his new book, ‘Thank You for Being Late.’ He writes of the historic nature of the rapid increase in changes to our world that have left us bewildered and torn apart.
Read his book and see if you can find your story depicted in it. I did.
Recently, the military actions around the world have upset us. Last week, as we sat watching television in our homes, the United States launched missiles at the air base in Syria from which poisonous gases had been shot into civilian areas. President Trump was at his resort in Florida with the president of China.
Trump later described it on Fox News with these words: ‘I was sitting at the table. We had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen, and President Xi was enjoying it, and I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded. What do you do?’ Trump went on to say, ‘And we made a determination to do it. So, the missiles were on the way. And I said, ‘Mr. President, let me explain something to you.’ So, what happens is, I said, ‘We’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq, and I wanted you to know this.’ And he was eating his cake, and he was silent.’
The reporter, Fox News Business host Maria Bartiromo, quickly reminded Trump that the strikes were launched against Syria, not Iraq. This whole account seemed to me shocking in light of the seriousness of the military action.
The following day, my husband and I watched the movie depicting the heroic efforts of the USS Indianapolis battleship during the World War II. The boat had ferried the first atomic bomb to an air base from which it could be carried and dropped on Hiroshima in the devastating attack that ended the war. After delivering the unmarked cargo, they left port and headed back into the war zone. They were immediately hit by a Japanese torpedo and the battleship was sunk. The surviving crew floated on rafts for four days in shark-infested waters with no food or water.
The movie footage was of death and destruction. It was so upsetting to me that I got up and went for a walk half way through watching it. In the end, only 300 of the 1,196 men survived. A monument to this real war-time tragedy stands on the downtown canal in Indianapolis and I have visited with survivors at their annual convention in the past. This was war at it worst.
How could anyone eat ‘delicious chocolate cake’ in the midst of making a decision that affects the lives of not just our military personnel, but also all of us? Once missiles are launched, who knows when the action will spin out of control.
And then, I had to remind myself of the message of Friedman’s book. It is an ‘argument for ‘being late’ ‘ for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and to reflect on its possibilities and dangers.’ He speculates what will hold us all together is human-to-human interaction and support. That includes doing the everyday things like cooking, sharing a meal and even clearing the kitchen together.
Each of us has to look at ourselves and decide where we draw the line between diving into the great changing unknown of current events or nestling with others in the everyday activities we understand. We don’t all strive to attain the same degree of involvement or responsibility. Our skills and abilities vary ‘ bravo for that ‘ but we all need to realize that the road to adequate knowledge and skill in a particular area of involvement is difficult and takes commitment.
In other words, as a leader of years back said, ‘If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.’ If one hasn’t taken the wisest console and studied the issues, don’t try to fake it. We are all interrelated, and one action in this global world affects every other facet of our lives. In other words, if you are the top commander of a country, don’t take time to eat delicious chocolate cake if you haven’t adequately studied the consequences of military actions.
Knowing ourselves and reconciling our words and involvements when we look honestly in a mirror is always a great challenge. I find when my computer malfunctions, I respond just as I did during the frightening war movie: I get up and start organizing my messy house. There is something very affirming about doing jobs with understandable results.
So, to wear off the wearies of watching the recent news, I have washed windows, swept the porch and gotten out my summer clothes. I guess if it weren’t for challenging current events, I might never get my housework done.

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