Posted by: ritagone | December 3, 2014

The World Truly is Sometimes Too Much With Us

WordsworthWorld

The poet William Wordsworth was right: “The world (sometimes) is too much with us.” (parentheses mine)

Meaning: sometimes life is just overwhelming. The world is more than we can handle. Things get out of hand. There is a feeling of anxiety and a knot in your stomach almost all day long.

People suffer. They suffer at the hands of other people, they suffer via their own doing. Sometimes, because life is so complicated, they suffer as a result of both other peoples’ injuries and their own self-inflicted miseries. They hurt, they bleed, they wind up battered and bruised and broken. Sometimes you get a call that turns your own world – which seemed at the time nicely stable – into pandemonium. It’s not that your world is falling apart; it’s just that by knowing people who are being shredded for whatever reason, you also suffer a bit of what they’re suffering.

We’ve just gone through a time like that, when the world tilts and tries to spill you off of it. You keep on with normal living but every so often you remember that normal living is just not possible right now. And what’s happening isn’t even happening to us; it’s happening to a long-time friend of ours. And to his family.

And so we watch the collateral damage of the truth of Wordsworth’s words: “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” People get into an awful lot of trouble both getting and spending. We expend much energy, and yes, we lay ourselves down as waste sometimes. And it affects so many others, not just the person who is “out of tune,” as Wordsworth also said in his magnificent sonnet. Friends are devastated. Family will look back on this time as the watershed of their lives, and evermore will measure things as “before” and “after” this event, what has happened in the space of two weeks.

I keep trying to remember some worn but worthwhile clichés at a time like this. One of them is “This too shall pass.” Usually, whatever it is, it certainly will pass and end. Not much consolation in the middle of whatever it is, but something to cling to. The other saying is “Things could be worse,” and that always lifts me and my spirits, because I do tend to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. I have Positivity as one of my five strengths in StrengthsFinders, and it shows up when something bad happens: it enables me to look around the edge of what is going on to a time when it will be over, and to grasp the truth that somewhere someone else is undergoing something much worse than what is being experienced in my own world.

And of course there is the consolation which as a believer one must cling to, that ultimately God will bring harmony and justice and peace and comfort to His world, and all will be made right and whole, including whatever it is that is being torn apart today. And yes, that’s a great consolation, and yes, I do stop and pray and remember to be thankful. Even for the small things that usually drift past my senses on a normal day or week.

So be it.

This too shall pass.

And things could be worse.

For the people I know who are struggling right now with their lives being torn apart, this may not satisfy. It just may not be enough. But for me, today, this minute as I write this, these thoughts help me to echo more of Wordsworth’s words, that I might “have glimpses that would make me less forlorn.”

And that will just have to satisfy.

 

 

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Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing Rita. I like this piece.


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