This one won’t be very corporate, or very software-driven.
Yesterday, about 9 miles away from my home, a man who had become so filled with anger and hopelessness rented an airplane and crashed it into a building to address his grievances with the IRS. I drove by that building twice yesterday.
Before renting the airplane, this man set fire to his house. I ended up driving by that as well when I went to visit a friend who happened to live in that neighborhood.
These grim monuments filled me with a sadness that I cannot completely describe. I do not understand what could drive a person, especially a person who had a family, to such a state. Clearly he had problems, very difficult problems. I just don’t see the pathway to such destruction. What a terrible, tragic event.
People are working right now to turn this calamity to some sort political message, which is a shame, because it’s not about politics. It’s about individual hope and the chasm which lays before someone who has lost it completely. I can’t speak to the person who did these things. Clearly he was a troubled person. Yet there are many who are feeling pain and hopelessness in their lives right now. People are out of work and struggling to find their place, while obligations apply pressure from all sides. People overwhelmed by changes around them are lost and confused. Extreme views abound, and the loudest ones proudly proclaim that the others shouldn’t even be allowed to exist. Discourse is angry. Conflict is king.
You may not be experiencing these things in the extreme. You may just be dealing with the tedium of every day with the drone of the news in the background. You may be stuck in traffic while some jerk cuts you off to get a whole car-length ahead. You may be standing in the “10 items or less” isle while a person with thirteen items is in front of you (as you think “Shouldn’t that be ’10 items or fewer?'”)
Please understand that you are not alone. (If there is anything that can be said in this world it’s that we share it with many, many other people.) If stress is getting to you, take a break. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s also easy to just drive through things when you really need to take a walk or something and clear your head.
If you are overwhelmed by something get some help. There are many experts that are available who know law, business, medicine and other complex areas who will talk to you and help you do a reality check on what’s going on with you. Many solutions are simply a matter of knowing how things work. How could you possibly work your way through something on your own without the right expertise? You may know someone who is an expert, such as a lawyer, who you haven’t trusted with your concern. I know someone who thought he was in something way over his head and a call to a lawyer friend helped him see that it really wasn’t that bad and that he had some advantages on his side. It completely changed his outlook from despair to a problem with solutions, and more on his side than he appreciated.
Spend time with friends. It’s not always easy to make friends. When you have friends, it’s not always easy to open up to them. Yet often we find that friends care. They can’t fix our problems for us, but they can help us to see that our problems are not necessarily unique and that we may not be using all the resources at our disposal.
No matter how dark things look, there is a way out. It’s not the way chosen by this troubled man. It may not be an easy way, but it is a way that you can endure with help.
If you know someone who is troubled, especially a friend, reach out. You may be the only light they can see.
If you have family, embrace them and be grateful for them and keep them in your life.
No one should utterly without hope.