Saturday, February 4, 2017

Catching a breath

We're three weeks into the new administration and I'm exhausted. I've been sleeping fitfully at night and when I'm awake, I "stay woke." Whatever I'm doing, I have one eye on a screen.

I'm becoming addicted to outrageous news. I scroll through Facebook and Twitter, seeking it out, always looking for my next fix. There is a raging fire within me, and I'm stoking it with angry posts on social media. I don't have to look hard to find fuel for my flames. 

Has this become my new normal? I don't like what it's doing to me. It's distorting my perception of reality, and it's turning me into a downright cranky person. But I can't look away because I feel that would be irresponsible. I need to be vigilant, and I need to speak up and act out when the most vulnerable among us are being trampled on. I couldn't face myself in the mirror if I did otherwise. Nor could I dare to call myself a follower of Jesus. So, ignoring the truth isn't an option for me. 

I might also try to escape it, but it seems that it's become too pervasive for me to do that either. Recently, when I asked someone what I was missing in the movie La La Land, I was told that people have been drawn to it because it's a great escape in a time of turmoil. It didn't work for me. The whole time I was watching it, another film was running in my brain. Escape isn't going to get me through these days. 

What I can do is pause to catch my breath from time to time. I can practice contemplative prayer, allowing the burdens that have taken over my thoughts to float on down the river for a bit, while I open myself to the presence of the Holy. I can take time for the arts, releasing my own self-absorbed state to encounter the reality other people experience. I can get down on the floor and see through the eyes of my two-year-old grandson, who still trusts that the world is loving and good. And I can seek out moments of beauty and kindness in the likes of humanity. They really aren't that hard to find. 

On the other hand, just yesterday I decided that I was going to post something positive on FB. One that would help us all catch our breath for a moment. It was the photo of a pitbull, who had become so protective of a chihuahua at an animal shelter, that when he was adopted, the new owner had to take them both. The photo was enough to melt the hardest of hearts; it invited us all to take a collective breath, no matter how we might feel about the political state of our country right now. 

The comments were all what I expected, "Aw, shucks, isn't that sweet!" That was exactly what I was going for. *breathe*

And then, at the end of the day, a friend wrote: "Love it! If only that kind of affection were contagious to humans and we could spread it to Washington!"

I had to laugh. Yes, breathing is difficult these days. But I'm in it for the long-haul, and I plan to catch a breath whenever I can.

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