Weathering the Storm

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It had rained all week and she had grown weary of the dark skies and dampness in the air. Even the plants were beginning to yellow from too much water. She had wondered why everything was so extreme, floods in her part of the world and drought in others. Even politics had left the middle of the road and divided everyone into abnormally divisive camps. There seemed no halfway and she was exhausted from the stress of it all. 

She had tried to cope, diplomatically explain why it was important to cooperate, develop ideas together but few had seemed interested in an amicable approach. The Palestinians had fought with the Israelis as though there was no viable solution for their ongoing battles. The people had argued over how to deal with the spread of the virus, whether to wear masks or become vaccinated. Warring divisions, continual disasters, lies and propaganda is how it had begun and it had seemed as though there would be no end to the dreariness that dominated her thoughts each day. “Is this how it will forevermore be?” she had asked herself, hoping that the answer that she so negatively felt in her heart was wrong.

Then she had stumbled upon a conversation with a group of young people. They had seemed so innocent, so likely to be naive and filled with the kind of silly impractical ideas that will never solve a single problem, but she decided to listen anyway. They were passionate in their assessments of what was happening and what we must do to save our planet, our democratic republic and ourselves. They had a grasp of facts, statistics, research. These were not people touting hoaxes as reality. They did not echo the soundbites that dominated most political discourse. They were reasoned, honest, willing to sacrifice at whatever cost to do what needed to happen even if it was difficult. As she listened she felt a smile creeping into her heart and across her face. This was as hopeful as she had felt in a very long time. 

She left the group feeling a tinge of optimism from their energy. She saw that they were far wiser than their ages might have indicated they would be. She realized that those who had criticized such youth as spoiled and unconcerned were wrong. They were looking to the future, creating a plan to forestall problems, not just deal with them as they arose. They did not long for the past but they used lessons from former times to draw conclusions, see patterns, create solutions. She was inspired by the level of critical thinking she had heard from them. It had been so long since anyone had sounded logical or free of bias. 

The rain had fallen in buckets as she drove home but her thoughts had become brighter. She heaved a contented sigh even as she wondered how to transmit the good news of her discovery to the people who had warned her to beware of the younger generation. She wanted to report what she had learned but worried that she would not be able to convince anyone of her pleasant discovery.

She wrote an essay and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. The usual suspects had either liked or argued with her thesis. She wondered if she had changed anybody’s mind and she felt disappointment and a kind of darkening of her spirit as the rain continued unabated. Her cynical mood only felt reinforced as she read that the lawmakers in her state were bickering as usual rather than having conciliatory discussions like the young people who had so fascinated her. The lights in her house had flickered then gone out leaving her once again in the shadows, wondering why so few could see what those young folks had seen. 

The streets had flooded once again. Homes had filled with murky waters while neighbors to the west were fleeing from fires that consumed their homes, their lifetimes. It had been a horrible era that lasted until she was very old and endlessly sad. Then came new leaders who looked so familiar to her. She wondered where she had seen them before and then it came to her. Their hair may have been tinged with gray but they were all those “kids” who had inspired her so many years before. It was their turn to try to clean the mess that had lingered far too long. She knew they had an almost impossible task but somehow she believed in them and once again hope sprung alive in her heart. 

The day had arrived when the future became the present, the present became the past. Now everyone had become as weary as she had always been. They were so tired of the tragedies and disasters and mostly the fighting. They were ready to finally listen and even get something done. Those young people were now in charge and their ideas sounded not just feasible but grand. The sun came out and her face happily glowed with a huge grin. She realized that hope had finally arrived.