Thursday, January 10, 2013

Eyes Wide Shut

I know this post will raise some eyebrows. I know it isn't the most "intelligent" thing I could let you know about me. I think you already know that I don't much care what your perception is of me - Unless it muddies up my faith. But this doesn't have much to do with that. OK. Yes it does. A lot!

I do this thing... Well, hrmmmm..... Maybe it would be easier to explain if I told you I DON'T do this thing. Yeah. That is better - I don't watch much news. At all. Can't stand it. (Go ahead, insert your gasp here. I am ready for it.)

I don't know exactly what it is other than I know that it effects me in a negative way. As someone who suffers from clinical depression and someone who doesn't get along well with conventional treatment of such, I have become very guarded about what I allow myself to listen to, see and generally obsess about. Talking heads, reporters of the macabre - they all make me a little nauseous. The smiles, the limp, feigned sympathy, the horrific way they fail at being non-biased all leaves me barking at my television or snarking at my radio. My pulse elevates, my head clouds with anger and the hopelessness creeps in.

So I hear it... That far off chorus of voices that tell me if I don't know what is happening how will I "be the change I want to see?" What kind of heartless, selfish and self-centered individual am I if I won't watch the latest and greatest of the human atrocities? Don't I want to live an informed and intelligent life? All these things I have argued with myself come down to one simple and yet difficult conceptual answer. I have been tasked by my Heavenly Father to live a life exemplified by Christ. Yup. That's it. That's my answer.

See, I know there is unspeakable evil in this world. I understand that there is a moment in which I will be called to answer for the way I have lived and I also understand that that moment may come at any time, either by peaceful or violent means. I need neither to hear of another's violent passing nor evil deed to know that only I will be held accountable for my life. Knowing of the latest abduction and horrific details of captivity, watching footage of closed circuit cruelty and carnage, hearing panicked phone dialogs and screams of terror - none of that will change my responsibility when Christ comes calling me home.

Fact is, harsh but true - I cannot stop every bad act. I cannot save every dying animal. I cannot carry the sorrow of every murdered soul in my heart. I would become an ineffective lump on the bathroom floor, paralyzed with fear of what "might be." I can, however, live my life the way I want to be treated. I can teach my kids to be safe in an unsafe world. I can let them know that bad things happen and that they are responsible for their actions. I am tasked to model consequential living for them and I can pray.

"There but for the grace of God go I." Heard it before? Me too. Been around a long time. Know what it means? Only God's grace keeps me from dealing with issues and trials I see around me, and sometimes, God's omniscient grace lands me right smack in the middle of that self-same trial. To recognize that I am no more special than the man next to me, to realize that God graciously allows my family and myself to be largely healthy, wealthy and wise, that is the gift I receive on a daily. I won't get that kind of reassurance from a reporter. I won't read it online or in a paper. But it is there. His grace is always there, waiting for me to rest in it, partake of it, dole it out to others.

I understand if you still need to to tune into your news shows. I won't judge you for that. Just understand when you ask me about the latest shooting, I probably won't have much information. Don't get me wrong, I have my causes. I have things I am passionate about and I have my struggles with evil as well. The cacophony of too much information is just not how I deal with it. I pray. I ask for God's guidance, and I practice obedience to His will. I may never get airtime for it, but then I don't take a good picture anyway!

Be blessed.