It feels as if there will be no end to the media blasts of all the ugliness going on in the world. As if it were a new phenom, when in fact I remind myself many of these things pale in comparison to earlier centuries of plagues, atrocious wars claiming millions, or far fewer human rights for anyone not just women. Just stop and think about it, that is IF you went to high school or college before they went high-tech and dropped history and the humanities, our link to our soul.
We seem to be addicted to the staggeringly spectacular, the shockingly sensational! It used to be just over the top performances at live concerts, now even a simple commercial has to be a sensory shock, explosive, perilous. Trees falling on cars or someone racing by taking off the car door; something blowing up or crashing. There’s always a calamity right around the corner.
It brought home to me my options to choose where to focus, watching the media displays of upheaval, giant sink holes, extraordinary feats on reality shows, or observing the miraculous in the mundane of every day, spring bursting forth here in the northern hemisphere for one. One day I noticed the stark brown limbs left over from winter, the next a few green shoots and seemingly before I could turn around, all the maples and oaks near me were just lush with green. I marveled at how it just “happens” a kind of fanfare requiring little human effort. Like the trees the flowers and shrubs just come forth on their own schedule and always seem new to me, it never gets old, let alone boring.
The horrific has always been and probably always will be in one form or another, though perhaps lessening? After all, women no longer have their feet bound, many of us can vote and own property and there’s a global women’s movement to take us further. Most of us are far less susceptible to widespread death from contagious disease. We still have a way to go but I’m inclined to think we can thank those who focus on how to bring about good than those who’re mesmerized by the tragedies. That those involved in such efforts are feeling more fulfilled and productive than those who don’t.
I started to think more about those everyday wonders we take for granted distracted by problems whether calamitous or mildly inconvenient. As I write this, a lot of bouncy babies are being born not at all daunted by calamities. Folks are still falling in love, again. Some got into college, won a promotion or got rehired, turned out a fabulous new recipe, won a patent for a basement invention, gazed in awe at the sun rise, romped through a field of tall grass, or embraced a loved one at the airport. I love the end of the movie, Love Actually with scene upon scene of people hugging at the airport, making the point there’s more hugging going on than hating. A soldier has come home from a war zone to the delight of a waiting family, some kid graduated from a three-wheeler or made the cheerleading squad, and a family immigrated from a land of little hope to a life with prospects.
Back in the day, I enjoyed the luxury of relaxing on Sunday with the New York Times. The Wedding section was always a treat, with its story-behind-the-story, the image of some beautiful couple embarking on a storied life (real or fancied). When that memory popped up recently I had to go online to see if the section was still there. I was thinking of how most local papers have long obit sections (that for some reason don’t interest me) but not much attention to births and marriage, new beginnings! But, hooray, the Times weddings are still there! Along with other fun sections like quirky Bill Cunningham covering the street fashion scene, (that’s a film worth renting) and lots of enticing food and travel sections. One publication that covers the grit and gore, and enough of the glamour and glory to keep us balanced and on track. Inspired maybe.
Not that we ignore the challenges that are always with us, but that we spend more time focused on life enhancements to perhaps continue the decline in calamitous?
So, I’m digging in deeper with regard to clicking off the hard news, the crime and horror, the reality soap operas, and commercials bent on selling me something through fear. I’ll work harder to look for the light in the everyday mundane, post it as a reminder that we work to realize it doesn’t have to be serious and alarming to be “real”. Even today I got an insight about music, something that’s always been a need like oxygen for me, and it seemed such a wonder, where did that phenomenon come from? How and why did we learn to “create” music? It occurred to me it was a God-given gift for us to connect to beauty and peace and harmony this side of heaven!