I try not to squeeze my eyes shut in real life but lately the sheer amount of suffering, how deep and wide its reach, how much at the surface of our lives it is, how personal and abstract, how very real it seems, how both unstoppable and sadly stoppable it is at the same time, if we just knew more, did more, did less, knew less, spun around in circles, stamped our feet twice and drank a vat of pig’s blood. (I’d give you examples, but it seems cruel.) I don’t know how to fix any of it, how to truly help, or how to be better than I am other than to turn inward, to look locally, and to say ‘yes’ as opportunities arise. Those feel like cheap solutions in light of huge pain.

Through the lens of social media the stream of despair is heavy and unceasing. Every time I go on Facebook or Twitter: some kind of tragedy, inexplicable horrors, abhorrent abuse, intolerable unfairness, cruelty, bad luck, unnecessary suffering. It is not that I want to squeeze my eyes shut or that I think people should not be sharing these stories by any means, but I often have to click away before I get to the end of the page, before I dissolve into a sopping mess of a person at my desk. For some reason, the stuff of the Internet manages to squeeze past my curmudgeonly, cynical surface and into my soft-hearted empathetic core. It is like there is a vulnerability in me that has not adapted to being able to cope with the rawness of seeing type and imagery together on a screen. And it is often that much more painful because in reality, so much of it is out of my control, if only for the sheer amount of it. I am often left feeling as if no amount of goodness can make up for the losses.

There are beautiful things about the Internet – connections, opportunities, making. A part of me wonders if contentedness depends on shifting the focus to those things.

Still, something dark lingers. Maybe it is not so much finding fault with the Internet, but with the real world that it reflects. It feels as though I am running laps around myself in some kind of ineffectual dream state. Too afraid to do something. Too afraid to do nothing. The only way to cope is to try and live my moments as they happen. Be grateful, kind, humble, brave, and be these things on a daily basis, with people who are closest to you.

How is the Internet treating you these days?