Practical Hope for Widespread Malaise

Dear Friends and Partners of The Front Porch,

I’ve been watching the documentary, “World War 2: The Price of Empire.” As a student of this war, with a Dad who participated in it, WW2 has always been a terrible, but romanticized part of the fabric of my life. But through this 2015 documentary, I now find myself waking up to the horrifying fact that an estimated 70-85 million people perished in under a decade through a contagion of violence and genocide that put  the whole world under a spell of hatred and fear. It was all out: everyone had to take sides, demonize the other side, and literally fight to the death; there was no in-between.

The older I get, the more it seems that World War 2 was not that long ago. And it really happened. Those of us born into the relative security of the post-war United States can not imagine the magnitude and grief of such a war. Yet there is something in the narration of this particular series that has me thinking it could happen again. I see how the first step–demonizing others–can happen rather easily. Entrenchment follows.  I see anew how vulnerable we are and how tenuous life on the planet can be.

It now feels like there is a widespread malaise. Young people especially are feeling more stress and anxiety over climate changes. The political climate is crazy making. People are on edge. Shooters show up randomly and kill people in public places.

Lest we get overwhelmed and give fear too much attention, let’s dial it back and look for practical hope: the kind of hope, for example, that finds ways to team up with others to better protect the earth’s lungs, the rainforests; the kind of hope that comes from treating other people–especially people who look or believe differently from ourselves–with more compassion and care; or the kind of hope that emerges from the simple human connections that can follow from good music, art, or table fellowship.

By hosting programs and events in festive spaces, The Front Porch strives to offer a practical solution for the malaise wrought by too much isolation and fear and suspicion of the other. Our increasingly compartmentalized culture makes it difficult to form trusting relationships with other people who believe or live differently. What can we do? We can keep trying to cultivate a culture of dialogue and respect that promotes ways of interacting that lead to understanding, acceptance, and friendly collaboration!

Hope to see you soon on the Porch!
Stephen 
Hiroshima in 1945 (above). Hiroshima in 2019 (below)

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