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Being engaged in a global world

Being engaged in a global world Being engaged in a global world

There is something rather sick about channel surfing on a television between basketball games and an active war. The teams I back in the flurry of March madness may not be winning, but my couch is warm and comfortable and the popcorn is fresh and tasty. At the same time, views of the live war in Ukraine reveal death and destruction of those things we hold so dear: human life, freedom for all and nourishing communities.

If we are all connected in this complex world as I think we are, how can we sit comfortably by and simply observe dispassionately the inconsistencies and atrocities of the day?

Life is just so complex and complicated. Why this month alone we will be observing the extreme change in weather from the dormancy of winter to the emergence of growth that comes with spring. In our country, the Senate Judiciary committee is holding hearings on a candidate for a lifelong appointment to the highest court in our land. President Joe Biden has recently joined other world leaders in a NATO summit and European Council meeting in Brussels in an attempt to find positive responses to the Russian invasion of the free nation of Ukraine. Soon, the solar orbiter spacecraft will make its closest approach to the sun ever. Photographs will be taken of its increasingly active surface from which we can monitor its impact on our power grids, satellites, GPS, airlines, rockets and astronauts in space. No wonder our heads and hearts are spinning.

My husband, Don, and I regularly ponder what we two oldies can do to be of help in this conflicted world. I am sure you have had those concerns, too. We are grateful to have contact numbers for our donations of money to reliable humanitarian organizations, but we humans want to be able to do more than just share our cash.

I know that a game like basketball is a diversion that can keep us sane when the really big problems seem out of our reach, but sticking our heads in the sand because it is too hurtful and confusing to do otherwise is counterproductive. I do believe that change to be sustainable must rise from the general populace, not from top-down leaders.

While in Poland a number of years ago, I met an elderly woman who had been in a Nazi concentration camp. She was speaking out to warn others of dangers she felt lurked at hand. She told us that the most important thing in a dire situation like an extermination war camp is relationship, not food, although they were starving. Our prayers to God can do more than we can envision. Our interactions with others can change our lives.

It matters how we handle our daily work, what kind of a governing body we support, how we act in our families, what institutions we develop to educate and serve our communities and how we nurture the natural environment we are given. Maybe our best way to impact international relations is how we talk to our family, neighbors and friends. Do we really research and discuss issues and then develop ways to disagree, compromise, build consensus and stay friends? These are skills a democracy depends upon.

I see the Ukrainians standing firm to defend their country’s freedom and wonder if I would be that strong in the time of crisis. I better not sit back and wait until the time of testing comes. Strengthening my skills, compassion, knowledge and participation today will help me in the future in whatever engagement I might have as a citizen of a global living room.

We do a lot to strengthen the international scene when we build a strong economy, social network and democracy here in Southern Indiana. We grow where we are planted, and the whole network of life is stronger for it.