It is usually when things are at their worst that I need to write the most.
At the moment, though, with all the awfulness going on in the world, I haven’t known what to say – and, rightly or wrongly, I took a step back, retreated into work and fiction where it feels safe and familiar. Where it feels like I have some control and everything is not just in free fall.
Maybe I hoped I would wake up and it would all have been a bad dream but my eyes are open now and here is what I see:
This country feels ever more divided. Overly dramatic? I don’t think so.
Families and friendships have fractured as a result of Brexit; it pit father against son, wife against husband, life-long friends in direct opposition. People often disagree, of course, but it’s the vitriol that has accompanied it that has splintered relationships.
Neighbours are turning on neighbours, with those who should feel safe being abused in the street or even in their homes.
Our politicians are in chaos – many out of touch with the wants of the people they represent, the people who elected them.
Every time I watch the news I’ve been repeating a phrase from the Fred Rogers quote: “look for the helpers, look for the helpers”. They might be harder to spot at the moment but they are there.
We don’t need to agree on everything but the fundamentals of how we behave towards one another should be clear.
Whenever I need confirmation of what they are I look no further than article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Adopted on December 10th, 1948, the declaration came as a direct result of the second world war.
The first time I read it, it gave me goosebumps – and I still feel the power of it today.
Its supporters have struggled for six decades to make those words a reality. To me it seems like we’re heading backwards now, which is why it feels ever more important to continue to promote them, to push them (although perhaps with a more inclusive word than brotherhood at the end).
I didn’t bring Freya into this world. I don’t want her growing up surrounded by ever more hatred, inequality and violence. And hiding from it, no matter how tempting, is not going to change anything.
So, I’m going to do my best not only to believe in helpers but to try and be one too.
What do you think? Am I alone in feeling like the world is in chaos? What can we do to help make it better?