Our society seems to ebb and flow with the media. Maybe this is part of being an adult – being aware of news and the goings on in the world. Maybe this is part of our ever-changing world – being inundated with immediate information so easily accessible that we know almost the instant anything happens.
However, lately – really, in the last years since I started keeping up with the news – there really does not seem to be an ebb. And the flow is more like a constant crashing wave.
Attacks on police
All Lives Matter
Just labels of deeply affected and effective events.
Sitting in my comfortable chair as my laundry finishes drying while digesting the pancakes I made with my French-pressed coffee and plans to go visit friends with a new baby, it all feels far away. I feel safe. Even though my own community knows the sting of too many shots fired, too many wrecks of cars and people’s lives.
My attentions are centered on overwhelmed with the close to home concerns and jugglings of the day-to-day: the groceries needed, the work for the day, the plans for the seasons, the ever shifting balance of relationships and rest.
Feeling helpless about the concerns of the world is not the right statement. I don’t think we can boast of being helpless when we live in a place like this. I think we feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the news and overwhelmed in our own lives creating a strain of empathy that cannot sustain another ounce of effort in another direction.
When this war against one another reaches our own door, and our homes are engulfed into the battleground instead of the coffee grounds, when our own cry for help is drowned by the cry of others already in need, that is when our priorities shift from concerns over the stress of living to the stress of surviving.
And I hear many solutions proposed to stop the war before it gets here:
Change your voice. Change your vote. Change your _____
What if the change needed is actually closer to home? What if kindness – as simple and easy as it sounds – changes more than articles posted and reposted? What if taking the extra step to move out of someone’s way or smile at the eccentric person bagging the groceries or engaging in a race with the child running wild down the running path could begin a shift in our own heart, our own homes, our own communities, and even our own nation?
I like to think it could be that simple. Simple as loving others more than yourself.
I like to think that I could be part of a solution without having to travel half-way around the world to intersect with a need so great I cannot even fathom it. I like to think that what I do in the here and now can have a ripple effect in the lives I come in contact with.
And this simple solution costs a great deal of effort, tiredness, and humility – basically dying to self – to what I want to do. Because when I pursue the things I want, that is when my whole world becomes about keeping what I have and the war against one another feels far off and distant and the complacency of comfortable commands my heart and attention.
And this is how our world ends. When we become so individual that we are no longer indivisible.