when Liberia gets you downPosted: February 26, 2011
I am not one of those people who joins in posting things like the ubiquitous “I love my life!” on my facebook status. I feel like the people who actually know you well will probably already know whether you love your life or not, and the people who don’t know probably don’t need to find out via 4 words on facebook.
But let’s suppose, hypothetically for a moment, that you were spending part of your Saturday doing research on Liberia, which can often be at its best utterly disheartening. The country that was started by free slaves has had a serious spate of bad luck in recent years that has culminated in civil war/drought/famine/disease/and other terrible things (are you wondering how this started with facebook? Yeah I’ll get there in a minute). Being someone who cannot watch sad commercials without being melancholy for an hour, research on Liberia makes me feel seriously depressed (if hypothetically speaking, I were the one researching Liberia).
If you were this hypothetical researcher you might be sitting at a coffee shop mentally bemoaning the fact that people thousands of miles away have such bleak prospects. Reading about cases like these used to make me feel a deep sense of guilt that I lived such a privileged existence when others struggled to get clean water. This problem persisted until I realized that my guilt wasn’t going to help them (let’s be real here, my power to help the situation is extremely limited) and would only keep me from appreciating the things I do have in my life. This is not advocating for ignoring the world’s problems, but only recognizing what it is within your power to accomplish.
But if you were our hypothetical researcher you might reflect on the situation and realize that you are currently sitting at your favorite coffee shop on a beautiful day and earlier you had handmade ice cream on a farm! and tonight you are making cheese fondue with one of your favorite people in the world and this might lead you to 2 conclusions: 1) You should probably go running later and 2) you have a pretty awesome life.
This conclusion might inspire you get on facebook and write something like the aforementioned status that will be “liked” by approximately 7 facebook friends and include a comment from your sister questioning your sanity.
Or you could get on your blog and write it instead.