And yet, in this age of opportunities, where each of us can truly find joy, runs a current of criticism, jealousy, nit-picking and quibbling. The cynics seem to see the world as a pie and any success by someone else, means less for them to eat. But the world isn’t a single pastry, it’s a banquet– lush and full and overflowing, constantly replenished and with new dishes appearing every day. Life offers more than enough love, triumphs and beauty for each of us, no one needs to envy or critique another’s dish.
Each life also holds misery, heartache and disasters– which is all the more reason to tread gently and kindly on this earth.
Yesterday, I had an article printed in the Deseret News with rather large and bold placement. You might think I love holding my words and photos on giant pages, but I actually dread each time I receive an email exclaiming, “Your article had been published!”
Words, once published, are like Frankenstein brought to life– they take on actions of their own, free to misinterpretation and abuse. I discipline myself to avoid the comments on the online page because despite their lack of sense and correlation to what was written, mean words hurt.
Intelligent discussion defines a vibrant and educated society, but the ferocity of condemnation, the excoriation of ‘errant’ writers astounds me. It seems no one can write an opinion of any sort without subjecting themselves to name-calling and mockery. An article that made the rounds of Facebook and the internet last fall comes to mind. A mother of four boys and one little girl wrote about the fact her family will ‘unfriend’ a girl on Facebook if she posts provocative photos. I’m not going to link to it. While her words (and especially the photos she included) might have benefited from a bit of tempering, I was surprised at the backlash heaped upon her. The hatred, the parodies, the evisceration of a woman who, from what I could tell, simply stated her opinion.
Just yesterday, I read a beautiful article– God will give you more than you can handle: I guarantee it. (which I’ll quite happily link to)– but was saddened to see several comments (I didn’t go past the first twenty or so) both questioning and mocking her faith. Wouldn’t their opinions be better served by writing posts or articles of their own? Why tear apart her expressions of faith and understanding?
Over and over, I’ve seen this behavior within discussions about… well, every topic imaginable. Does any attacker believe their cruel words (on either side of the discussion) will lead to understanding?
Perhaps some might say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the fire.” To some degree, this is true. But if every sensitive writer/singer/artist stopped contributing, we’d lose so many important voices. Each of us, in whatever we choose to pursue, must block out the voices of opposition. My sister loves to remind me, “The angels tell you to be glorious, but the devils tell you, ‘don’t even try.'”
Why do I write? Because my words, my ideas, matter to a few people. Not masses. I’ve never penned a viral article; no one’s clamoring for my words. But the trickle of emails and kind words keep me going. I’ve been told I empower parents, give them the courage to buck peer pressure and follow their own instincts.
Yes, I need to ignore the belittlers if I want to go forward. But I’d also suggest we’d all benefit– especially those who spend their time critiquing and reviling– by simply pursuing happiness, spreading kindness, looking for ways to help and create and enjoy this beautiful, beautiful life.