Our village is hurting. It’s crying out for help. We are experiencing grief, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. This leads to isolation and lack of communication. The village used to be a place where people could come to get information, education, rights of passages, and love. Now, it offers no words of encouragement, wisdom, or support.
There was a time when we all came together to do what is best for the community, for its people. To help look after each other, to feed the hungry, and support the dreams of the youth. There was a time when kids could approach the elders and get words of wisdom, but now they offer words of dread. There was a time when the hungry could go to corner store or the neighborhood grandmother and be offered food and comforting words, now he is turned away with words filled with hurt and hate. We used to look out for each other, now we turn a blind eye to the destruction of the community. We stopped communicating and now we’re deaf to the screams for help.
For so long, we’ve convinced ourselves we’re immune to the diseases and illnesses of the outside world. We’ve falsely believed depression, anxiety, and mental illness didn’t live in our homes. People laughed at the child, who showed signs of mental illness, for acting a little different. Instead of offering help, we offered ridicule. We protected the uncle, who molested the family members- telling everyone he was just being friendly. We allowed him, and others like him, to shatter the innocence and joy of youth. Instead of giving them justice, we gave them indifference. Instead of giving the one with big dreams the tools and wisdom to reach those dreams, we gave him negativity and doubt while laughing at his aspirations.
We are failing our community because we are scared to admit we need help and to get help. We’re afraid to communicate for fear of judgement and ridicule. The world we live in shames us for admitting we need help, have struggles, and for being less than perfect. We’ve built a mirage that life is always about being bigger, better, faster, flashier, more, more, more… We’ve no longer appreciate the little things in life, the small comforts, and gestures of love and hope.
The village has tried, for so long, to hide its hurt and pain behind this illusion and now it’s rearing its ugly head with a vengeance. The village is no longer able to care for and love the youth, because we don’t know how to care for and love ourselves. Love, wisdom, fun, and fellowship are no longer valued in the community. The sad part is, we know help is there, we’re just scared to seek it. How can we heal if we can’t admit we need help? How can give the youth hope for the future, when we can’t admit and get help for the hopelessness of the present? In order to heal, the village must admit it is sick. In order to heal, we must raise our voices and ask for help. Until we are able to do this, we will continue to suffer in silence.