“The pit will hypnotize you and you will fall in.”
I’m taking Austin Kleon’s advice. No more doomscrolling. Not sure how long I will step away, but the news is making me feel unhealthy, even if all I do is read the headlines. Much of it is fear-driven, myopic, and out of my control.
Did I mention hate-filled? I was crushed when some time ago, I saw that J. D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, (a book I liked) who is a professed Christian, succumbed to the politics of hostility when he said, I think our people hate the right people. (He is running for the senate in Ohio.) Hate? Where is that found in the teachings of Jesus? Or anywhere in Scripture?
After reading news stories about mayhem and murder and intrigue and dissension and sickness and doom…well, maybe not you, but I’m affected. It isn’t good to be constantly fighting anger, hate, and despair. Or when your fear insists your husband replace the side door in the garage. Clearly, it wouldn’t take Jack Reacher to kick it in. Our six-year-old neighbor could do the job.
So, I quit the news. At least for now. Someone famous, I’ve forgotten who, recently said he’s quitting the news because he knows what’s important will eventually make its way to him. I’ll count on that.
We do need stories of hope, ones that cause us to rejoice, not despair. There’s even New Testament support for this and Paul declares it an antidote to anxiety. Whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
I’ve found a place where true, excellent, lovely, admirable stories are gathered. Not that they don’t acknowledge what might be absurd or even tragic in life. Remember, there is a difference between saccharine, sickly sweet sentiment and a story that portrays reality without cynicism or sarcasm.
A few years ago, Ted Huppert, a local television journalist, began this feed called “Land of 10,000 Stories.” You know, like Minnesota Land of 10,000 Lakes? The entire collection is posted on YouTube.
Here are two of my favorites. This one is about what one man did for the Ely, Minnesota football team when he brought in students of color to an all-white small town.
This one, in several episodes, follows the touching friendship between a 3-year-old boy and his 89-year-old neighbor.
Check them out for a calmer, sweeter perspective on life. Really. Do it.
Photo Credit: Siphotography. iStock photo ID: 692253634. Single use license.