I was on an airplane during the second presidential debate Sunday night, and judging by even what little I read afterward about the exchanges, I felt relieved that I had missed the commotion.
Yes, I watched the first debate – on C-SPAN, without a talking head’s commentary before or after – and we recorded the second one for possible viewing later. I don’t think I can watch it.
This election year, instead of a stream of hopeful ideas and flowing dialogue, we have stagnant, stinky water.
I won’t even start about the mosquitoes that flock to stagnant water, except that it reminds me to share one of my son’s best quips, breaking down the meaning behind the word politics: poli- meaning many, and -tics meaning blood-sucking parasites.
At least that’s a joke at which most all of us can laugh, and don’t we all need more laughter for laughter’s sake, not at someone else’s personal expense or degradation? Perhaps I digress.
A few years ago, David Sipress drew a cartoon that appeared in The New Yorker magazine, of a man and woman walking down the street. “My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane,” the woman says.
Can you relate?
Shooting deaths of black males by police officers. Shooting deaths of police officers by snipers and others. Acts of international terrorism and a civil war in Syria. The list goes on. What do we do with all of this?
I will start by asking myself some fundamental questions:
- Will I let the outer world define my inner life, with others’ anger and bitterness eating at me, too? Will I let it diminish my belief in humanity and my belief that God ultimately is in control?
- Will I listen to talking heads, entertainers posing as newscasters really, as they continually rehash who said this and who did that, and allow those very words to corrode my soul?
- Will I take the bait on social media or online, where everyone has a say but everyone does not have an informed say, and let someone drag me into an argument of little value, merit, or consequence?
Or will I mindfully recognize that this is the state of my country right now, and that it makes me sad?
Will I say to the nastiness I see you, and I reject you. You are not what I am. You are not what I will become.
Will I inform myself about the important matters of the day, knowing that it’s easy to get sucked in to the details and replays, but then remember that I cannot know everything, and it’s Not. My. Purpose. To. Know. Every. Thing.
Will I mindfully allow myself to walk away when I feel overwhelmed? To take a deep breath, go for a walk, talk to a trusted friend?
Will I allow myself to use that space to reflect on what I do know, Who I do trust, and the difference that I can make by taking the next right step out of the stagnant water, and into my own life?
How do you guard your sanity when the larger world has gone awry? What do you do to take care of your heart, mind, body and soul?
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