And here’s another way we show how hateful we are. I’m amazed at the cruelty and disrespect shown by those who are all over the internet poking fun at the birth of a baby. Like if the birth of a beautiful healthy baby isn’t enough to make the world collectively step back from acrimony (look it up) however temporarily, I really don’t know what will.
I’m not sure why it surprises me really. Humanity is spiteful, cruel, jealous, acrimonious (no really look it up – it’s a great word) and generally poopy (don’t look that up especially on Google). I know this. Deep down in my soul, I know this, but I still want people to just be nice. But that old “if you can’t say anything nice” thing really doesn’t take, does it? Like you all have to make an announcement that you don’t care. It isn’t enough to just ignore it, move on with your life, make no comment whatsoever. You have to make it clear to everyone – and maybe yourself – that you could not care less. (Don’t forget to include the “not” in that phrase. Because being bitter and ignorant is a lethal combo.)
I can’t help but wonder (a la this blog and then I’ll stop wondering) what this is all about. Why do people feel the need to voice a lack of care? Why do people have the need to belittle someone else’s joy and enthusiasm? Is it really all that necessary to make sure that other people know you are aloof about the whole thing? Isn’t telling people you are aloof partly proving you are not that aloof? (And no I’m not using a thesaurus for this blog, though I did look up the spelling of acrimony just to be sure.)
I came up with two reasons in my head for why people do these things. One is that we need to feel superior. It’s this intrinsic knee-jerk reaction to distance ourselves from something we consider stupid and we have to make darn sure that everyone knows we think it’s stupid.
Secondly, it boils down to some kind of adult – though incredibly immature – version of playground bullying. You kids playing hopscotch are lame so I’m going to rub out all your chalk marks with my sneaker and spit on your chalk. Why? Because I can. Because something in me doesn’t want you to have fun. Or I don’t understand how your having fun doesn’t negate my intellect or pride or in fact have any affect at all on my identity. Or I am not mature enough to enjoy the fact you are having fun and either choose to join in it or simply smile and walk away if I’m just not feeling the hopscotch action today or really ever. Maturity, ie not bullying, doesn’t feel compelled to rain on other people’s parades.
We know from playground bullies to crazy tiger moms that these behaviors are deeply rooted in fear of just the opposite of superiority, namely, fear of inferiority and failure. It’s the disconnect between what I’m doing and what you’re doing and the relationship between the two, as if these things are always inherently related. And maybe this is exactly what I’m getting at. What exactly is happening when a person reacts strongly to something that really truly has no bearing whatsoever on his or her life? What causes the emotion that then puts a choice to them to either rejoice with those who rejoice or the tendency to bash and belittle another person’s rejoicing? Is it the same root cause for when people try to make light of other people’s sorrow, to not weep with those who weep? You know the type – the person who always has that reaction of oh you don’t have it that bad, let me tell you about bad… and then proceeds to try to one-up your grief?
And maybe the thing that is really upsetting to me is the realization that most people who are so entrenched in their own bitterness and jaded attitudes got that way because that’s how people treated them. It’s a defense mechanism learned over many years to keep themselves from truly engaging in an emotion that may make them seem vulnerable and sappy. I watch young kids who nearly from infancy just crave to be appreciated and laughed with and hugged and feel warm fuzzies. We think it’s maturity to outgrow this. we think that as adults we should be these independent self-sufficient creatures who don’t need nothing or nobody (double negative intended for emphasis not correctness). We think that only the weak fall into the exclamations of Awwww and Squeeee when we see something cute and cuddly or when we simply want to celebrate a baby we will never meet, never hold, never really have anything to do with, but still feel this collective excitement for a real world prince and princess.
And as a Christian and a lover of all things light and good, I can’t help but think how callous some people become to purity and sweetness. How quickly they reject something that just doesn’t seem like it’s FOR them. How quickly they deem good news irrelevant to their lives, that it doesn’t do anything for them, that it isn’t personal, that it’s nice for other people – weak minded people – who need something to make them happy and to celebrate. And maybe the birth of a prince halfway around the world doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans for any of those reading this, but a reflection on the reactions of people to something as innocuous as news of the birth of a baby tells us something about the way we fail each other. It tells us about how we resist really entering in to other people’s joys and sorrows, how we distance ourselves from really truly feeling, how we are quick to tease and bait people putting them on the defensive and letting them squirm. It tells us something of how we have exchanged the sacred and blessed for something lesser and more accessible, maybe because we grew tired of mystery and hope and wonder. Maybe we lost sight of awe and replaced it with potty humor and we think it’s a good thing to be very comfortable with it.
I hope that I will always rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, that I will always find hope and beauty in all things, and when I cannot see the good I will refrain from resorting to attack mode, but draw my attention back to what is worthy of it. I pray that my heart will always be filld with light and love to crowd out the dark and hate so there is never any room for them. And I will always want to buy the world a Coke. That’s the real thing.