I’m new here. I can still count in days the length of time that I’ve been blogging. But I’ve made an interesting discovery. There’s a whole community of likeminded—and sometimes not-so-likeminded—people milling about in internet-land. I don’t know what I expected, really. I think I thought it would be nice to have an excuse to write more regularly, and to actually have a way to get my writing in the hands of actual readers. But I wasn’t expecting to meet people and make friends.
I wasn’t expecting to find writing challenges like Yeah Write that would give me an opportunity to test my writing against that of more experienced bloggers, and get wonderful affirming feedback from them.
I wasn’t expecting that responding to a WordPress Daily Prompt would mean my work would be linked to dozens of other blogs.
I wasn’t expecting that within a few short weeks my words would be read in Alaska and Texas and Serbia and Switzerland.
I wasn’t expecting to have this much fun.
And today, courtesy of fellow blogger “that cynking feeling,” I stumbled on another unexpected discovery. Today is Blog Action Day, and roughly 2000 bloggers around the world are each linking their tiny corner of the internet into a vast international discussion about Human Rights.
Whoa. Pretty awesome, right?
And pretty overwhelming. I mean, where does one even begin? There are so many Human Rights issues that need discussing, and so many writers out there who are far more qualified than I am to discuss them. And, I don’t know about you, but I find that when I start to contemplate all the horrible things in the world that need to change, I find a kind of paralysis sets in. Mary Pipher writes about this in her recent book The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture. While Pipher’s focus is on issues related to global climate change, what she calls “Mid-Traumatic Stress Disorder” equally afflicts us when staring down the myriad of complex Human Rights abuses that are laid out before us. Pipher says,
We constantly are told—and we tell ourselves—that whatever topic is being considered is the most important thing. Every day we are admonished that it is essential to____________. We could fill in the blank in a thousand ways: develop our spiritual lives, eat organic fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, stay connected to our extended family, research our options before we make a purchase, and make time for our friends. While all of these things are commendable, the sheer number of absolutely essential things we should do is ridiculous. Everything can’t be the most important thing.
Although we can’t focus on everything, we can at least choose to focus on something. The alternative is turning a blind eye to everything. I have written before about how our actions can affect others in ways we may not even realize. Even if we don’t know a solution, we can at least try not to be part of the problem. Pipher’s prescription for the psychological overload that comes from knowing too much about what needs to be done is to just pick something and do it. And, even more importantly, find other people to do it with.
I have witnessed this very phenomenon in my brief encounter with the blogosphere. Here are all these people, all over the place, sharing their thoughts and passions and fears and victories, and linking up with others who, even if we don’t agree, can always appreciate. Pipher says,
We can deal with our cultural and environmental crises only after we deal with our human crises of trauma, denial, and emotional paralysis. This will require that most difficult of all human endeavors, facing our own despair. This involves waking from our trance of denial facing our own pain and sorrow, accepting the world as it is, adapting and living more intentionally.
There are a lot of sad stories. I’ve only dipped a toe into the ocean of great blogs that are out there, but I’ve read a lot of personal trauma that has been born of the abuse of Human Rights. It’s important to tell those stories. In writing and reading those stories we face our despair together, and together we are better equipped to accept the world as it is and take a collective, intentional, step in the right direction.
 Pipher, Mary. 2013. The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture. New York: Riverhead Books. P. 17.
 Pipher. P. 74.