“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …” -Charles Dickens, "A Tale of Two Cities"
This quote, found in the opening of Charles Dickens' classic novel "A Tale of Two Cities," is an exceptionally accurate description of today's reality. Unfortunately, equality between the "best" and "worst", the "wisdom" and "foolishness," the "belief" and "incredulity," does not exist. More often than not, news headlines report about the "worst" incidences; those that are full of "foolishness" and leave us in a state of "incredulity." Reality is a word that stings; some refuse to face it, hiding in comfort zones and ignoring the trauma that ensnares so many across the globe.
I cannot blame those who wish to live in a utopia. It is much easier to dismiss the bad news, change the channel, or simply ignore the headlines. Living in blissful ignorance often appears to be an attractive lifestyle, but it almost always results in an eventual hard-hitting reality check.
I will admit that, for an extensive amount of time, I did my best to think about "the worst of times" as little as possible. I thought that I could continue to live in my self-preserving bubble where bad news would not affect me. Here, I presumed I could watch protests, shootings, wars, acts of terrorism, political unrest and environmental decline from a safe distance, all the while keeping to my own concerns. I had become numb to the violence and destruction simply due to how common they had become. Events that tore many peoples' lives apart became such frequent news topics that my eyes and mind automatically glazed over anytime I saw, heard, or read about them. This was a sad but true reality for me.
Unfortunately, the bad news just keeps coming. "When worst comes to worst" has become reality. And, for me, the tragedy of reality has finally struck me.
I do not know that there was one specific event that made me realize how disastrous reality had become, or if the compilation of tragedies finally became too heavy for my bubble to uphold, but I do know that I am finally aware of the world around me.
Before, no matter how geographically close I was to any of the crises covered by news crews, I always felt that I was safe. I comforted myself using the phrase "it won't happen to me."
Now, however, every act of "foolishness" touches my heart and my head. I stay updated on current news and consequently spend time wondering "why." While I do my best to live a positive lifestyle, focusing on God's love and mercy, I am conflicted with "the worst of times;" the times that run a destructive course and leave behind nothing but despair.
It is difficult to figure out where to begin in attempting to understand the reality in which we live. What has become of God's beautiful world that it has become so full of disaster and desolation? For me, I wonder if the world has always been like this, or if I happened to be born in a time of incredible devastation. How did our world become fixed on such a path that seems to lead only to more decimation and wreckage? Most importantly, how do we change it?
How do we change the world: an age-old question. But seriously, what can we do? Have we become so deeply entrenched in the errors of our ways that we cannot change them?
The answer is no. Some days, it will be difficult to see the light due to the ever-present shadow that hangs over much of our world. However, if each of us dedicate ourselves to become problem-solvers, creators of solutions, equality, safety, we can reach a reality that is "the best of times...the age of wisdom...the epoch of belief..."
In order to find the solution, we must first admit there is a problem. We should no more act like my previous ways, ignorant and naïve in respect to reality. We must accept that there are issues to be dealt with and devote ourselves to making progress towards our goal, "the best of times." We must ask God for peace on earth.
Although this may seem a heavy task to take on, God has given us a book of guidance-it's called The Bible. As we read it, we should transfer His word into our daily lives. With this word, we can create "the best of times" from "the worst of times."
Keep in mind: there is always a rainbow after the storm. God promised this.