October 29, 2013 in Children, Nature, Ramblings by Emily

While I am no longer running a business as a portrait photographer, this blog will now contain thoughts and images I create by and for myself and my family.

Lately, I have felt a deep sadness for the terror, pain, hunger, and death that people in other countries experience regularly. I have read the news worldwide and know people living near where terrible things have happened in recent months. I care. But it is easy here, in our comfortable culture, to trivialize what others are going through. We don’t intend to, we are just not experiencing the same things, and so don_MG_1481‘t understand.

I could go into a rant over our culture’s current fascination with zombies (and for that matter, horror and extremely violent movies). To me personally, it is not only a celebration of horror and the awful, but is a trivialization of the reality of terror in real people’s lives. Are our lives so easy and comfortable that we lose respect for reality? And when Halloween comes around, I try to avoid places that place evil looking (and sounding) stuff everywhere. Are we trying to desensitize our children to these things? Why in the world would we want to do that? Why do we think it is funny and sweet to encourage our children to paint themselves with blood, or even come up to a doorway entirely decorated with the scariest things possible? I’m sorry, it makes me feel like crying. This is not simply because I think it is gross (believe me I’ve seen enough gross things working as a registered nurse over the years), but because I think it trivializes what real people have to go through. It is possible, some people invest their senses in these things in order to overcome an innate fear they have, or to prove they are bold or brave (two words I actually don’t associate with the act) or simply “cool” (to whom? someone I suppose.).

That said, I also do not judge people who help their kids dress up and explore the neighborhood knocking on doors and requesting candy. This is intended as a fun activity for kids and families. While, we try to keep sugar at a minimum at our house – believe me, it makes a huge difference – and I cringe at the amounts of candy my kids have come home with in the past, and how long it takes us to get through it, I do not judge people having a fun Halloween. It’s simply the extent to which some people take it, that bothers me.

So…I’ve been experiencing deep sadness for what people do experience: mental illness, war, terrorism, persecution, hunger, abandonment, fear, depression, etc.;

and then I read about the things that valiant people are doing, in big and in small ways, for others.

One blog I appreciate is by a family who sold everything to live in their converted bus and travel from community to community around the country, connecting and helping out, while playing music to help support themselves. You might appreciate their latest post here. I was honored to meet the Hollands when they parked their bus-RV in our drive in February, while connecting to outreaches in Albuquerque.

Other people are reaching out to their neighbors, or starting an organization to address gender selection;  someone else is creating something beautiful, another is helping someone clean their house, creating educational curricula (wink), teaching children, loving and supporting their own children, adopting or fostering a child (or children), smiling at the cashier, picking up a piece of garbage, noticing and being touched by something beautiful, caring for an animal, and the list goes on.

I feel our love of others and care of this world begin in the small ways in which we live our lives. I want to be challenged each day to appreciate those things in others, and to care for what and whom is in front of me.

(click on photos to enlarge slide show)