This morning I woke up early. My body continuing it’s habit to wake me up early regularly regardless of what time I go to bed. This week has been no different. But with the time difference, I have been going to sleep with the election on my mind and waking up terrified if it’s going to be like four years ago. Where I woke up with a pit in my stomach about the future of the country. But today I woke up to this.
I resisted the urge to wake up my girlfriend at that moment. Though I almost woke her up when my phone made the shutter sound for the above screenshot. It was a feeling I haven’t had in a while. A huge relief of knowing there’s going to be a proper leader. I listened to his victory speech and drank it like a medicine for an aching body. Knowing it’s not going to be better over night. Might even be months or even years until things “settle down”. He brought a message that we should be trying to unite more. No more of the us versus them. Despite drinking this medicine, I still have an anxiety. It’s a different one than the last few years. It’s a new one.
I grew up in a rather conservative and religious upbringing. The attitude of taking care of the environment was: “Sure, we should take care of what we have, but we don’t really need to inconvenience ourselves because we know God will take care of it.” Of course, it’s already a problem. Wild fires are much more common. Weather getting more extreme.
When I was a young little homeschooler, we would regularly go to the library and I would get non-fiction books about various animals and the ecosystems they lived in. I especially loved to read about big cats. Though, I would go through different animal phases growing up. A lot of those animals and ecosystems that I loved to read about are eroding away now.
As a kid, I remember seeing tons of bugs all over the grill and windshield of my parents car after a drive. That barely happens anymore. You have to get pretty far out from civilization, even then it barely happens. Bug populations are way down globally. We’ve eaten away at our local ecosystems, and continue to devour.
The weird near denial of taking active action for the environment we live in reminds me of a story I would hear in church.
A man was told a huge storm was coming. There will be major flooding in the area, and he should evacuate. The man being a person of faith said, “No need to evacuate, my God will save me.” The storm comes and sure enough it begins flooding. The water up to his ankles in his house. A neighbor in a boat comes by and offers him a ride. “The storm is going to get worse, we should evacuate.” But the man’s faith wasn’t dissolved in the ankle deep water. “No need to evacuate, my God will save me.” The neighbor leaves without him. Rain continued until the man was forced onto his roof. Another boat comes by with the same message: “The storm is going to get worse, we should evacuate.” Even still, the man’s faith stood strong as he responded, “No need to evacuate, my God will save me.” The boat leaves without him. The waves of the water become too dangerous for boats. A helicopter comes to save the man stranded on his roof. The man proclaims to the helicopter: “No need to evacuate, my God will save me.” The helicopter leaves without him. The waters continue to rise, and sure enough the man drowns in the flood. Upon the entering the pearly gates of heaven and meeting God, the man was confused. “But God… why didn’t you save me?” he asks. “What more did you want? I gave you a warning, two boats, and a helicopter?!”
We need to listen to each other. We need to work together to take reasonable steps to move forward. We’re constantly being put at each others throats often as a distraction from the actual problems. We see a storm coming, and I believe we all want as much people in the boat as possible.
I have an anxiety about this future, but it’s a hopeful one.