Thank you for writing, Chris Harries, you raise some important questions. I can only speak for myself but I don’t think the world has gone rotten; I think the world is in some ways more promising than ever, depending on what scale and metrics are used for evaluation. And, I think the realities that some of us are now facing for the first time that makes the world feel rotten have been realities for a long time for so many in marginalized communities- it’s just that many of us white folks have been shielded until now by our own privilege (and in my case, ignorance).
Because of this, I remind myself that while I can have moments of darkness and do need to take breaks, I don’t to get to be overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. So any people don’t have the option of staying home and hiding under the covers when their lives gets tough; they have to get up at 5am and work long days to feed their families and just get by.
That said, and this speaks to your beautiful final point about serving and finding pleasure, here is one more quote from Rebecca Solnit’s book “Hope in the Dark”: “The great human rights activist and Irish nationalist Roger Casement investigated horrific torture and genocide in South America’s Putamayo rainforest a century ago and campaigned to end it. While on this somber task, his journal reveals, he found time to admire handsome local men and to chase brilliantly colored butterflies. Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection” (24).