I was watching a documentary about the 1993 Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco, TX last night. I watched as a moth drawn to a flame, knowing this probably wasn’t a good choice right before bedtime. But I had a need to know.
When the actual event took place I was a frazzled, overworked single mom of four trying to hang onto my sanity. I didn’t watch the news back then. I’d heard about Branch Davidian, but didn’t need or want the details. It was just BAD. And I had enough BAD in my life already.
But now I’m retired and my life is pretty nice. The kids are grown up and doing okay for the most part. So I feel the need to know what happened when I was tuned out, and I watch the news and Frontline and PBS documentaries and am getting caught up on what I missed.
I have to take breaks now and then though, because it can be overwhelming. So much of history is tragic. So much of what’s happening right now is tragic. And it affects me. How can it not? The bloodshed, the insanity, the tyranny, the outright barbarity and destructiveness. We humans can be very ignorant, deluded and downright inhuman.
So, how to come to terms with this I ask myself? How do I avoid sticking my head in the sand so as not to become thoroughly discouraged?
This is what I came up with. I’m an idealist. My glossy expectations trip me up. I think things should be the way I think they should be. But they’re not. Maybe man is evolving. Maybe. But humans are very imperfect, and in varying stages of maturity. To quote Florence Snyder, a Tallahassee lawyer, in an article from Politics Florida, “You can’t take human nature out of human nature.”
That’s just how it is. I can do some things to make a difference, I can pay attention to the beauty when it shows itself, I can distract myself from the ugliness, I can rant, I can try to love, love, love instead of hate, hate, hate. But what I cannot do is eradicate the tragic.