I am sick, sick, sick to the stomach with the world we live in. Our girls are being raped day and night. Planes are being shot down. Israel is bombing Palestinian civilians. There are floods and droughts at the same time. There are people dying of hunger and an obesity epidemic at hand simultaneously. The world is telling us all sorts of things all the time. We are hearing the same stories with new twists each day. Things that are wrong. Things that make us believe hurting and harming each other is fine; in fact, it’s necessary. It teaches us the sort of things I wish I weren’t alive to see and hear, or have to learn to teach.
And while I say this, I can hear the whine of a terrified, complaining child in my voice, and something within me-something older and wiser than my sum of years alive- tells me that in any other time, in any other place on earth, things wouldn’t have been much better or worse. Because things do not really change. Things are always changing.
This is what the world is teaching me today:
1. Muslims are terrorists.
2. Jews are Muslim-hating merciless murderers.
3. The hijab is a weapon of control and submission.
4. We should liberate Muslim women because they don’t know any better.
5. Apartheid is alive and well.
6. The holocaust never really ended.
7. America is an insatiable oil-hungry bully.
8. If you have daughters, be afraid for them.
9. Homeschool your girls.
10. If you’re fat you deserve to be shamed.
11. If you’re thin you have an eating disorder.
12. If you’re a woman, you’re asking for it.
13. If you’re a man you’re guilty until proven innocent.
14. Money comes far easier than generosity.
15. Do not travel by airplanes.
But. It is also teaching me that:
16. Gratitude is underrated, and it is more imperative than ever to be thankful for all you have. And don’t have.
17. Empathy is low on supply. Please give what you can.
18. Appreciate every little thing there is. The fleeting, fragrant whiff of a bush of night jasmines. The car that stops to let you cross the street. The gentleman who holds the door open for the pregnant woman.
19. Kindness is everything.