He described a darkness falling across the land, and then a war to end all wars. I remember being terrified when he told us all about the masses of death… the masses of people, fueled and blinded by their hate, killing one another off by the millions.
But he offered us a ray of hope: I saw the whole world hold hands, people finding ways to span across the oceans, across all continents, in a show of unity, and we all sang together—everyone across the globe, people of all colors, religions, and cultures standing together as one.
I’ve been thinking about that dream a lot lately, about the old man’s words and their implications. While I don’t believe this dream was in any way prophetic, I do think it holds credence in our current political climate. I do fear the possibility of war. I fear that the darkness has descended upon us.
I grew up under the naïve notion that all people were inherently good. I wasn’t able to grasp the idea that not everybody in the world was deeply empathetic about… well, everyone. I didn’t know that diversity went much further than differences in culture and basic beliefs, and I didn’t understand that the world was made up wholly of flies and spiders, that without exception, all people were either born as (or grew to become) one or the other.
I understand now that not only do these two different groups exist, creating a clear delineation between us, but also that a fly will always see the world through the eyes of a fly, just as a spider will always view the world through the eyes of a spider. Both believe they are inherently right in the way they live their life, and that the other is inherently wrong. Is the fly right to fear the spider? Is the spider wrong to consume the fly?
A friend once said we have only two choices in life: love and fear. I think she might have been onto something. Fear and hate have more in common with one another than you’d think at first glance. But even fear in the absence of hate can be enough to destroy people, regardless of motivations or intentions. What do you fear? Have your fears ever destroyed anything? How often have they led to self-fulfilled prophecies, fear itself causing temporary patches of darkness?
I’m afraid of a lot of things. I’d like to replace those fears with love, but sometimes we can’t help what we’re afraid of. I’m afraid of conflict, hateful people, suffering… and those fears have left me frozen at times.
Right now, I’m frozen by the state of the world, especially in the US. I’m afraid I’m powerless, voiceless… purposeless. It’s put me in a dark place, and that makes me want to find some sandy cave to bury my head in and hide. But I don’t want to be afraid. I want to love the enemy. I want to embrace our differences.
I don’t want to be afraid…
But can the fly truly love the spider, I wonder? I don’t know the answer to that, but perhaps someone older and wiser than I am might. If that person is out there, I’d love to have a chat.