I have been feeling bombarded. The news feed on my phone compounded with radio and television news shows have left me penned in with too much to bear. It’s weighed me down and made me hopeless and anxious. The noise has caused me to feel anger, agitation and annoyance. It’s taken down the best part of me and it’s time, once again, to draw a line to separate myself from the storm and noise of the media.
I confess that I am a recovering news junkie. It was my “edge”, orchestrated when I taught Sociology. The students might have known as much as I did about Sociology, but if each chapter was applied to current events, I could maintain an edge by reading three newspapers and watching three or more network news shows. I was and am a recovering news addict, and I frequently send myself to “rehab” for my daily news addiction.
I was stretching before yoga class on my mat trying to suck in quiet, calm, peace and hope when Jen began telling a story by Ram Dass. I became more alert since I remember going to hear him in college with a few friends. She told a story about Ram being on a Greyhound bus, a dingy bus, which he reluctantly had agreed to ride. As he walks down the aisle he bemoans his plight silently and takes the seat in the back corner of the bus. He settles in with his book and watches a large, overweight man come down the aisle. You guessed it! The man sits next to him and takes up half of Ram’s seat as well. Ram returns to his book and “hears” one of his teachers say: “Love people, serve people and love God.” He also hears, “I didn’t tell you to love your book!” So Ram sets down his book and asks the man how he is. They talk together all the way to their destination.
I am feeling convicted of my selfishness and unloving ways. I love my books. Next Jen talks about the new Mr. Rogers movie coming out in November and mentions how two things Mr. Rogers talked about were quiet and wonder. I am captivated now. The noise of bombarding news has kept me on a battleground that is not mine to stand watch over.
I crave silence, yet I push boundaries and find myself in heartbreaking and evil domains.
The workout was amazing and I drove home in silence taking in the beauty of the world around me. I walked into the house and stared out the windows like I did after my father and my mother died. I didn’t pray, I just looked in wonder and quiet. I practiced “being” many times each day as a remembrance to my parents and my grieving heart. So, today, I returned to this practice of being and quiet and wonder. This old practice of embracing silence in a noisy world is what fed my tired, bombarded ears.
After a luxurious time of being and seeing, I looked up Mr. Rogers’ quotes and wrote down my favorites. I am on a news hiatus. At least for a few days I will keep the boundaries I have set in place and let others fight on that bloody battleground of the sides every country is fighting. I will step off and gather heart again and remember what being human calls me to be. There is wonder and awe inside and out of my house. I am feeling the awe of being human again. I cannot say it better than Mr. Rogers:
“Look for the helpers.”
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
“I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s loved exactly as he is now and is appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be.”
“Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive your enemies than our friends. It can be the hardest of all to forgive the people we love.”
“Like all of life’s important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in life.”
“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”
The battle sometimes is to leave the battleground. The quotes are my battle plan and the victory is assured because I am called to participate in peace, not merely to wage war.
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of 42 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living!