Tuesday, March 12, 2013

America the Broken

While I'm often discouraged by the state of our nation, I still have moments of intense pride and feel it's still proper to support our country, after all, patriotism is a virtue, is it not? Sure America has much to offer, beautiful varieties of landscapes, a melting pot nation where people of every culture is welcome, we're the champion of freedom, democracy, hard work, social mobility, fabulous food, and we have the New York Yankees! However, we are also individualistic, God-less, against life, materialistic, and petty. The problem is people don't live their day to day lives with remembering the God given gift of America---we have become broken and fractured. 

A big part of me used to like it when things broke down---there was just something about long weather delays at the airport, a dead stop in a traffic jam, or any shift where the earth stops rotating the way it's supposed to. For those moments in time, I can relax and be like a kid again, curious, starry eyed, wondering what will unfold next, but realizing that my will and actions can't or won't force anything. Still, the weight of the world is off your shoulders, you enter a state of pure being---that is, until the snow starts to melt or the traffic picks up.  Those moments and happenings were different break downs than what we see now. Those times offered a mesmerizing look, a peek, a glimpse into what is real and tangible and eternal about you----current times scare the heebeegeebees out of me.

I write this because living in another country for awhile surely opens your eyes to what we look at as just our nature, and what really is broken.  Sneaking glances of the news in the USA doesn't seem so pretty, and what folks say about us, doesn't seem so glamorous anymore.  The other day in an English class, the kids were reading a short story out loud. In the story a teen had gone to America, and upon return, he told his class, among other things, that marijuana is everywhere, and that all the students do is get high. The teacher stopped, turned to me, and asked if this was true and to please explain to the class. My lord, I felt so embarrassed, but with 44 sets of eyes staring at me, waiting to hang on my every word, I went on, in a nutshell, to say that the words in the story were somewhat of an exaggeration, and that sure, there are drugs everywhere, but it takes a good person, one with inner fortitude to just say no.

Sometimes, like what happened in class, or if I read about yet another shooting in the US, I feel like the world is currently immersed in a prolonged moment of things breaking down, yet simultaneously, being in Africa, it feels increasingly like a return to the natural strife—the musical soul of the ebb and flow of the universe.  I didn't think I'd like the mundane village life for so long, but boy am I ever glad to have a  break from the broken world outside of my village. 

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