Friday, 25 December 2009

I cannot save the world.

I cannot stop the planet warming and rescue the polar bears and the rhinos.  I cannot stop women being raped in Africa.  I cannot stop rape.  I cannot stop children dying from hunger in Africa or India or England or America or anywhere else.  I cannot knock together the heads of Israel and Palestine.  I cannot 'solve' Iraq.  Or Afghanistan.  I cannot give every accused a fair trial.  I cannot restore those who died before their time.  I cannot stop chickens being boxed into tiny cages and fed hormones or prevent pigs being crated up for all of their short lives.  I cannot release all of the people in prison for political reasons.  I cannot force nations to grant rights to homosexuals or bisexuals or transexuals.  I cannot cure AIDS.  Or wipe out cholera or the common cold.  I cannot protect children from abuse.  I cannot look after all the ancient monuments in danger.  I cannot save the rainforests or the blue whale.  I cannot repopulate the oceans.  I cannot clothe and feed and house all the people on the streets at Christmas time.  I cannot fund the arts.  I cannot find an alternative to fossil fuels. I cannot give second chances to all the ones that flunked the first time, no matter what the reason.  I cannot care for everyone.  I cannot hold everyone.  I cannot save everyone.  I cannot save everything.

I don't believe that this guy, God or Man or Baby, did or will or could, either.  I find it inspiring that he tried - that someone had the attention of the world long enough to suggest it might be a good thing for us all to try, and I find it a worthy aim and outcome for a religion if people still try and follow that example and make things better - even if I know for myself that he was no more than a person in history, and even if they sometimes make things worse.  Better some than not at all.

I will not let all of these hundreds of thousands of cannots run my life - I could panic and cry for the vastnesses of each of them, no matter all of them.  Sometimes I do.  I try - but so often it feels like sandpapering a mountain.  Two choices: turn my back totally, or do a tiny bit for everything, hoping to find one thing that will make it feel like I did something worthy of being here.

Hidden in the dark musics of the season, like when the Cathedral Choir were singing their haunting Dove Mass to me and following it up with rhinestone carols as I was more than half asleep in Truro's twee Victorian church.

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