This morning at 5 a.m., I turned on the news and found out that in addition to the Coronavirus pandemic, the marches for justice, and the wildfires in Arizona and California, North Korea threatened to march into the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. Three Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese on the Kashmir border. Catholic schools are going bust and closing, and major league baseball seems done for the year.
I turned off the TV, took a breath and looked around me. My desk was cleared off, things put away. I opened my art folder and looked at the last few things I’ve done. I have a novel in progress, and looked over the last chapter. I opened a photo my daughter sent me last night of a house she likes – a weird round house out in the Oregon woods, and I called my brother and thanked him for a gift he’d sent. My wife came out adjusted the thermostat, gave me a kiss then went back to bed, I made coffee and took a first sip. My dog started snoring on the couch and things seemed better.
No news is good, especially when the world seems upset and in turmoil. Like most people, I want to stay informed, but being informed is different from being hammered with badness. And with news, as with battles, I try to choose the battles I can win, and the news that directly affects me, or that I can try to improve. Local news, the weather, traffic report, all have something to do my life. Local issues, how to get where I’m going, what to wear, what’s open, what’s closed.
For the big picture, the national and international news doesn’t work for me. It’s usually negative, and there’s usually nothing I can do about it, so I check out friends and church members in other countries. I can take a webcam look at foreign cities I’ve visited, watch the cars going by, people going about their lives, and things almost always look normal. Send friends an email to see how they’re doing. There, that’s better and that’s a bigger reality than the news.
Something that works for me is planning the future – a camping trip, a visit to friends or relatives, something I want to do. Every appointment on the calendar helps create a future. And creation is another thing that works. An art project, writing a blog or a book, uploading a video to YouTube, going out to take photos.
For the big picture, what works for me is my church, its scriptures, the existence of humanity on planet Earth on a journey together through time and travail. As in Google Earth, we can rise, zoom up from our houses, our neighborhoods, our towns, our countries, and the Earth itself, a beautiful blue sphere brimming with life in the vast emptiness of the universe. Church, Temple, Synagogue, Mosque are the repositories of wisdom, of hope and of promise that this too, shall pass, and that we have a destiny, a purpose and a connection with the infinite that is far greater than the morning news, the latest crisis, the problems and troubles of daily life. People of faith are indeed blessed.