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  • The Vail Project

A cruel, cruel world

Our world is a merciless, brutal place. This is certainly not news to me. Sadly, a whole lot of people are about to learn just how unrelenting it is. The current course of events fills me with sorrow. There are no winners in all of this. Only losers. Loss is something that I have become intimately acquainted with. Unfortunately many other are about to familiarized.

My sister will attest to how harsh our childhood was. Full of bitter disappointment, trauma, abuse and loneliness. Adulthood hasn't always been kind either. Steve and I thought we had finally made it, past all of the worst things life could hand us. Then we lost Vail and we became awake to the true torture that this world can inflict upon us. Having suffered the greatest pain and loss a person could be asked to endure, we remain unfazed but the threat of loss due to this viral pandemic.

Illness and death are nothing new. We are all too aware of fragile life can be. Even when it seams to be robust. So here we all are, as a society, faced with the fragility of human life. People are freaking out. Mortality has become a phobia in American culture. We are so afraid of death, even reasonably expected death, that we will deny it at any cost. Right now, no one really wants to talk about that cost. Most are all too caught up in moral discussion of the value of life. If I hear one more person say "every single life has value" I am going to punch someone. Well, not really because I am practicing social distancing, but if I could be close to one of those people I would throw a punch. Ok, I'm exaggerating...but only a little bit. NO ONE is arguing that all life has value. Least of all me. I know exactly how much value one, singular little life is worth. Most people have some perspective on the value of life. Because most people love someone that they don't want to lose.

Valuing life doesn't have to be mutually exclusive from being rational about the impacts of the current policies in place. So when the President says we need to consider if the cure is more costly than the disease, that is a rational statement. Not an inhumane one. Let's consider all of humanity in the decisions that we make. Let's consider the long term consequences of our actions. Fortunately this county has seen a lot of prosperity in the last 75 years. There are few people alive today that lived through The Great Depression. I was raised by my grandparents, both of whom were young during the depression. It had lasting effects on them that they carried through their lives. I remember being frustrated at them both while I was growing up, but I have a feeling that the lessons they taught me and the stories they told are about to become extremely valuable. Life as we know it is about to way or another.

I have begun to wonder why our world is so atrocious. My thoughts on this subject are wide and varied. For the purposes of this post, I'll try to reign them in and focus on the current pandemic. Difficult for me, I know. Here is my main theory. Mother earth is behind it all. The earth is attempting to cleanse itself and she will not be denied. We don't listen to her pain, her heartache. After all, she is a mother too. What does a mother want more than anything? To nurture her children and keep them safe. We have taken that ability away from her, and she is raging. The virus isn't her first line of defense. We have ignored all of her pleas. So here comes the virus, it's goal to eliminate those with conditions already, the 'weak.' But we won't allow it. The human race fears our own mortality and the consequences of such, that we will go to supreme measures to stop it. Instead, in the place of death, we create a spiral of economic deterioration, one that will surely plunge us back into a great depression. Which, ultimately will land us in the exact same place. With death. People will die when only some can afford groceries; when millions of people are unemployed, suicide rates will spike. If the economy collapses, people will die. The question is how many? More than the virus would have killed? Maybe. Healthy, contributing members? Maybe. I don't have these answers. However, let us not turn a blind eye to the truth. We cannot avoid death.

If I have learned anything these past 6 months, it is that we cannot avoid death. Not if he is coming for you.

Emily Dickinson said it best: "Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me."

There has to be a bright light in all of this. And for me it is what the late, great Mr. Rogers said "Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping." This rings so true. There are always people helping. Right now, it is our medical personnel toting the heavy line. Soon, others will have to take up the mantle and do their part. In all the darkness, there will be light. It is important for us all to focus on that. The world is after all a cruel and scary place. Especially now. For most people, they have never been this scared. And that is ok. What isn't okay is to hole up in your house and pretend that others aren't suffering and that many more will continue to suffer as the days and weeks move on. Do what you can to help. Even if that is just remaining positive. Stay off social media if you cannot say anything nice. Perpetuating the hate in the world only feeds the problem. We are all more alike than we are different. We all value life. We all want things to be ok. News flash, things are not ok. Luckily for us, we are used to 'not ok.' Not ok is our normal. But for those of you who are only now being faced with the tragedy like the one unfolding here, look for the lessons in it. Learn to be altruistic. Focus on your personal growth. When the dust settles, and we can throw our doors open and hug our friends and family again...we will need helpers. Take this time to prepare to help. Our cruel and beautiful world depend on it.

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