Do you know what’s going on in the world? I kinda do, but not really.
When I was younger, I remember getting scolded by my parents because I wasn’t paying attention to current events. “You should watch the news so that you know what’s going on in the world.” I felt like they were right- I should watch the news and be more involved in things outside my own little bubble world. But my parents didn’t understand- I wasn’t avoiding the news because of disinterest. I was just plain old scared.
When I was in 7th grade, oh so many years ago, I remember going to the single pay phone in our Jr. High School (we didn’t call it Middle school back then), finding a quarter in my purse and calling my mom. I’d just left a History class where we were being taught about the Cold War and how we should all drop and get under our desk in the event of a nuclear attack. I was certain the world was going to end and I was terrified. I called my mom and asked her to come pick me up. I wanted to be with her when the world ended.
Now I send my 7th grade son to school every day with a cell phone. And both my boys have experienced lockdowns in school. They have instant access to current events. Interestingly enough, they don’t seem nearly as scared in their daily lives as I was. Unfortunately, they’ve been inundated with so many extreme events in their world that this is their normal.
Clearly a coping mechanism I developed was to bury my head in the sand. Ignorance is bliss and all of that. And as I matured, I began paying attention, this time at my own pace.
But since last November, I’ve made a conscious decision to not know. I’ll read a few things here and there so I have a general sense of what’s happening, but for the most part when the news comes on, I skip through much of it. I find so much of what I’m reading about and seeing so incredibly unbelievable that I am actually choosing to no longer pay attention. Like a child being told to do something they don’t want to do. I put my hands over my ears and start shouting 'la la la la,' so as to avoid hearing anything.
Not very mature, I know. But sometimes, isn’t it ok to plead ignorance just to stay sane and avoid the stress? Is that what my children have learned to do, at such an early age? They hear it, but tune it all out at the same time.
I have many friends who deal with this much differently. They’re activists who see what’s going on and jump into action. They’re motivated to do something to change the way things are, and I really appreciate them because I just don’t want to.
I prefer to keep my blinders on, at least for now. I feel some guilt about that, probably going back to the misinterpretation I picked up when I was a child- that not paying attention is bad and wrong. But the thing is, just because I’m not paying attention doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything. As my sister pointed out, “You’re the pray-er, I’m the do-er.” I
So maybe I’m not being as passive and ignorant as I thought. Prayer can be a mighty tool as well. Maybe I don’t need to be out on the streets, fighting the good fight, to be doing something positive. And maybe I don’t have to be so invested in the daily news to help things change.
So to those of you that continue to be aware of the details of what's happening in the world and turn your discontent into action, I thank you. And to those of you who continue to pray for change, I thank you too. Together, hopefully we can bring about a peace that will calm the waters of the world.