Where’s all the fun news? I don’t know if you’re like me in this regard, but right now, I’m just tired of all the sad news that I see streaming all over media. Its on my TV, on the net, in my ears, CONSTANTLY. It seems as though the macabre and downright horrible is what holds our attention nowadays. You meet at coffee break in the lunch room and even that early in the morning, the first item of conversation is “Did you see that shooting in (fill in the blanks) on the news? Horrible!”. If you didn’t see or hear about it, they proceed to fill you in on all the gory details, despite protests that you really could do without hearing about it.
Why are we so fascinated by all the horror that seems to be pouring out of humanity today?
Perhaps we need to know so that we can remind ourselves to be thankful that we are alive and to live life to the fullest. We certainly don’t rejoice at the senseless acts of violence perpetrated by varied individuals and groups, but we watch in disbelief because its hard to comprehend that someone would knowingly choose to do this to another. It helps us to appreciate that it could easily have been anyone of us. Communicating, perhaps, allows us to manage the experience. It allows us to connect in our collective disbelief, providing us with a sense of security and community, as we identify and vocalize the pain and fear that is associated with the incident. It could be a bit of self preservation because in knowing that these possibilities exist, we think perhaps that we can prepare to defend ourselves against it. But can we? Even the most experienced and aware individual will have no idea that danger is lurking in his/her own backyard.
So what do we do when our enemy is faceless and destruction visits our safe haven?
The enemy might be faceless but we know his tactics. Any good soldier knows that you can lose a battle but win a war. And in order to win the war, we must study the enemy. The Bible reminds us that we “Wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12-13). The struggles we face are coming to us at a spiritual and psychological level, and so we must counter attack in the same manner. What we need to do is to guard our minds and our thoughts as battles are won or lost in the mind first. Even though we may not be aware of it, any action that we take is often a result of whatever we believe in our hearts. We thought about it, even subconsciously, before we made a move.
Therefore, it is imperative that we “watch our eyes, what we see/look at, our ears what we hear/listen to, our lips what we speak (into being)” and additionally, watch our hands, what we do. Doing speaks to the thoughts and the heart. There is a sage bit advise from the good book: in Proverbs 4:23, we are encouraged to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life. One version says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. Feelings are the greatest motivator or demotivator. Oftentimes, though some may be more logical than others, its our emotions that informs the decision making process.
Am I saying that we are close it all out, to the point that we are ignorant to the occurrences in our society? Certainly not! But we need to protect our mind and our spirit. It cannot be healthy for our psyche to be inundated with abominate stories over and over. They are, unfortunately, a part of our reality. So what do you do then, to manage the emotions that accompany the information?
Filters become important. Limit what you watch and listen to and when you do it. Deliberately constrain yourself on how many hours/times per week you engage in the activity. Otherwise, I believe, we become numb to it and that can become dangerous in itself. We begin to see these occurrences as the new normal.
We should, instead, deliberately search out the good, fun stuff. And news media should begin to think that there is an audience for it! Obviously, if there wasn’t an audience for the bad, it wouldn’t be so readily available, would it? Yes, good news is out there and I don’t mean the kind that highlights the latest faux pas of a celebrity (which, on second thoughts, can sometimes be entertaining!). Catching up with an old friend or a good book is always recommended. Just do whatever it is that allows you to find some modicum of peace, even momentarily. Every little bit counts towards your total well being.
So, go on now, go. And here’s the fun part – it’s all up to you, to create your own personal time away, just the way you want it. Be sure to make it fun. And make it last…
…and perhaps, invite me along.