We've Been Here Before
About a month after my grandfather passed away, I remember walking to my car one morning thinking about the day that lay ahead. As I approached the garage door, bathed in sun, it dawned on me in heightened clarity that he had done the same the activity most days of his life. He may have been headed off to a different job with different people, but he headed into work just like I was. As I stare my 34th birthday in the face, one thing I've gained more perspective and understanding for, is the life each of us lives has unique parts about it but in another way is strikingly similar to that of most other humans. We all have many similar things we seek to accomplish every day.
Despite those similarities, when something arises in our life, community or country, it can be difficult to not get sucked up in the moment and catastrophize the situation at hand. The sky is falling and it feels like there is nothing we can do about it. How can we handle this situation? I mean, its never happened before.... but it likely has.
Last night I wrapped up the 2005 movie, Good Night and Good Luck, which explored newsman Edward R. Murrow's campaign to shed light, calm and rationale over Senator Joseph McCarthy's Cold War era witch hunt, which claimed communists had infiltrated all levels of our country. *Spoiler alert*: it turned out McCarthy had little, if any, evidence of this but his efforts still wrought terror across our nation. Many people were consequently fired from their jobs and ostracized in their communities and being accused without evidence of being communist. McCarthy's bully pulpit tapped into people's primal fears and the country responded accordingly. Fellow legislators, businessmen and entertainers feared appearing on McCarthy's list to the point most kept their heads down. But Murrow and his team, charged forward. As a result, the feared wrath of McCarthy appeared. He made accusations about Murrow, which were never proven, but still almost cost him his job.
If you are in struggle, the first place you should probably look for inspiration and direction is the past. Many challenges have come before us and were met by people equally as capable and intelligent as us. We honor them and aid ourselves by looking to them for guidance. Hero worship and learned helplessness are dangerous things. We remove the locus of control from ourselves and place it elsewhere. Either the problem is too impossible to tackle or the person we look up to is super human and we could never be like them, so why even try?
I'm grateful to Murrow and his team for their resolve to stand up to a foe with great power and momentum. We are better for it as a country and I am better for it today, having been reminded of it.
Go Forth Boldly
"One of the things the Irish say is that, 'the thing about the past is it’s not the past.' It’s right here in this room, in this conversation." David Whyte