I have never been a lover of the “news.” It has always seemed to me that anytime I spotted a newspaper headline it was rife with death and destruction. As a child if I happened to see a newspaper lying around, which they always were as my father loves the news, I would immediately bypass the front page and go straight for the human interest or travel and lifestyle pieces.
Now I work at a newspaper and while I do this because I went to school for journalism—ironic perhaps for someone who detests the news—my love of the written word and wanting to share stories of goodness in humans and perhaps travel was strong. And I have always thought we needed to have a different focus.
Now I am no Pollyanna and don’t expect the world to ignore car hijackings, terrorist attacks, bomb threats and gunned down policemen and African Americans. Those are newsworthy occurrences, despite the negative feelings they provoke. And for me at least, they illicit emotions so strong all I want is change. Powerful change.
However, as someone who tends to ignore the news, lately it has felt next to impossible to ignore. In part because I work for a newspaper, but also because every time I look to further educate myself on the goings on of the world, all that I seem to unearth is which horrible politician is being more dishonest or deceitful or derogatory or where the latest shooting has taken place.
I saw the news for the terrorist attack in France and all day I tried to ignore it. I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t know one more tiny morsel about the utter decimation of precious human life at the hands of pure evil. But I went ahead and read the story anyway.
And you know what? It’s too much. I shook while reading the story on CNN and I wanted to sob. I immediately began to pray and tried not to question God and why He couldn’t stop mothers and children and innocent victims from being ran down and gunned down at the hands of a madman who clearly lacked a soul. I prayed for guidance and all these lives being lost and the people who are affected (and affected is too weak a word for these senseless deaths) by these losses that keep stacking up.
I don’t understand it. I do not understand evil and I am glad that I don’t understand evil because I don’t ever want to understand the kind of detachment it would take to ride your bicycle to casually pick up a rental van with the intent to murderously maul people down in the midst of celebration.
But I will tell you that I am tired of ignorant terrorizing fools taking human life. These monsters won’t win.
All these atrocities taking place across our globe have admittedly left me feeling quite helpless. What is there to do? What can be done? How do we stop this? And all the questions beg answers that do not seem in the least bit forthcoming, because all that I see forthcoming is more death out of pure ignorance and hatred.
I can’t stand it and I can’t abide by it. I can’t even keep my mouth shut anymore. It has to stop.
The helplessness I feel over fighting such hatred seems nearly insurmountable and it feels like I might be swallowed whole under a sea of sadness. Lives are being lost. These lives matter. But I refuse to believe that because my efforts may seem small (and trivial) in light of such grotesque and repeated tragedies, that they couldn’t shed some light in a world that is seemingly growing darker by the second. I will start somewhere because this is unbearable to me. And it is unbearable to others. Even those who haven’t been struck personally by these tragedies.
I will start in my community with love. Because that is all I know how to do from my small corner of the world. And I want to give love in abundance, wherever and however I can, so that the people I meet may feel it and it may spread. Love is the only way I can think of to combat all this sickening hatred that is going around rampant and unchecked like a wildfire from the bowels of Hell.
I don’t expect that I could stop a terrorist with a hug and a Psalm; some hatred runs so deep as to be impenetrable. But I do think if–despite the helplessness most of us feel in regards to yet anther unspeakable tragedy–we can be decent and good and kind and loving to one another and see how that spreads, maybe, possibly that will make a smidgen of a difference.
Racists might still be racists, terrorists might still terrorize and ignorance may continue to prevail, but by the grace of God we need something to redirect us away from all this evil, if only just to unite as human beings for one another instead of against one another.
Maybe call me a Pollyanna after all. But I would rather be a Pollyanna than someone who is unmoved by the holiness of human life.