The Future Is Inside Out

Posted on 19 December 2017

Flowers by Katherine Phelps 2017

When I was growing up I frequently asked myself, “What is the most important thing?”

I was looking for direction and clarity in a chaotic world where I was surrounded by inconsistent parenting and inconsistent social messages. My first answer to the question was my religion. Christianity offered a universal outlook concerning my relationship with myself, others, the world, and all eternity. My second answer was “love”. My religion taught me that was the core of all right action. So, it became my duty to understand my religion, but even more important was to understand the nature of love and thereby better guide my actions.

Before long I found many people, my family included, treated their religion like a club, rather than a system of values. I was taught to hate anyone who isn’t Christian. I was taught to hate anyone who isn’t the right sort of Christian. I was taught to hate people for their politics, their taste in music, their choice of clothes, and more. I at first tried to abide by these strictures.

My family moved frequently from small town to small town. As the new kid in these towns I was an outsider. Many people teach hatred toward outsiders. So I was bullied and ostracised. Of the kids who were left, I could technically only make friends with a very few. I would go through the rules in my head as to who was acceptable and who wasn’t and I felt like I was painting myself into a corner. Worse, I felt like I had to paint myself out of my own corner by these very same rules.

It was time to turn the rules inside out!

It was time to see all the places where I would want to include people. Yes, I still needed to exercise some caution, recognising who was dangerous to my well-being in some manner. Nevertheless, it’s astounding how many people from how many places can be gloriously beautiful human beings!

In these days of imminent catastrophe we are all feeling the need to hate more. We are being to taught to:

Hate people of the Muslim faith
Hate people with religions
Hate people who are atheists
Hate people with the wrong color skin
Hate people with the wrong ethnicity
Hate people who are anti-vaccination
Hate people who are anti-capitalism
Hate people who are pro-socialism
Hate people who are communist
Hate people who are business workers
Hate people who are poor
Hate people who are unemployed
Hate people who are wealthy
Hate people who are from the wrong countries, including the US
Hate people who are fat
Hate people who are fit
Hate people who are pro-life
Hate people who are pro-choice
Hate people who are meat eaters
Hate people who are vegetarians
Hate people who are vegans
Hate people who are pro-environmental
Hate people who are using up the Earth
Hate people who are left-wing
Hate people who are centrist
Hate people who are right-wing
Hate people who are activists
Hate people who are complacent

hate…hate…hate

STOP! STOP! STOP!

No grouping of human beings seems to be immune from a felt need to hate. We are drawing each other in such absolutist terms, as if no one can change and no one can grow. This makes apparent solutions to the world’s problems very dangerous indeed.

Aren’t you tired of all the hating? How profoundly dark must your life be, if you have let yourself be sucked into this vortex of fear. Whether our world’s environment collapses or not, the collapse of human kindness will most assuredly mean the end of humankind. Love is not about being nicey-nice and accepting bad behavior. It is about doing the hard work of trying to include everyone and every living being at some level.

These are the lyrics from one of the songs I’ve written for my musical about youth unemployment and homelessness

“I Do Believe”
Katherine Phelps
2017 August 21

I do believe life can be good.
I do believe that people can be good.
I’m told that I’m naïve,
Been tricked and deceived.

I don’t think so…

And yes, I do believe in grace
I do believe that goodwill has its place.
And when they say life is dire,
People consuming fires,

Who are they helping?

…I know suffering finds us at any age.
Hurt ourselves through senseless rage.
Cowards stop looking for the light,
Giving darkness its might.
Behind those clouds are big bright stars,
Each star a burning sun.
Wake up, wake up, so much to be done.

Much to learn and unlearn.
Sometimes change is just a season’s turn.
I’ve lived more experience
Than some have lived in years.
I’ve never forgotten smiles,
Even through all the tears.

I do believe life can be good.
I do believe that people can be good.
I’m told that I’m naïve
Been tricked and deceived

I don’t think so.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine


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