I hate the news. It's like having a fire drill in my life every single day. I'm going about my business and all of a sudden I hear a story about a gang rape or a mass shooting, a kidnapping, a doomsday or a financial crisis. It makes my heart beat fast and all my arm hairs stand at attention. It jars me and triggers my fight or flight response.
I hear stories of people throwing other people into the path of subway trains and men assaulting women on buses and people mailing teddy bears to foster children with guns inside of them and I think, what kind of world am I living in? Suddenly everything becomes a little scary and dark and I realize who has dominion over the earth right now.
The media are panic mongers. They try to keep us in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear and I just hate that. I try to watch the weather and walk away but it's everywhere, popping up on my phone, on the front page of my news feed and on every channel. It's nearly inescapable.
I have to remember that for every bad story there is a good one. There are people who are helping their neighbors and donating organs so that others may live. There are silent prayers being lifted up all over the world, a collective choir that if heard would drown out the cacophony of distress on the television.
There are mothers loving their children and men protecting helpless animals. There are people working soup kitchens and giving their life savings to help a stranger. There is still goodness here on earth. Heaven can be found in our lives every single day. We just have to look for it.
Heaven is in the warmth of a blanket freshly pulled from the dryer and wrapped around cold shoulders. It's in the choir of giggles I hear when my children snuggle together in one bed. It's in the way my husband brushes the hair from my face before he kisses me right before we fall asleep.
It's in the silence of a snowstorm, like God hit the mute button on the world so that we could have the pleasure of listening to snow flakes fall to the ground.
It's in that first taste of coffee or hearing the first chord of my favorite song or in words written with such truth and beauty that it takes my breath away. It's in those simple things of life, a cool breeze on the back of your neck when it's 100 degrees outside, a vibrant color of purple in a sunset or the power of a wave that we see God's brush strokes and we say, "Wow."
I have to remember to keep looking, to focus my attention on the good. This is the challenge of being in this world but not of it, to seek first the kingdom of God. It's hard to do it with all the noise. It's kind of like trying to read a book in the middle of a carnival, it's so easy to get distracted by the sounds and sights and smells around me.
I'm not even sure why I wrote this, perhaps just to put it out there, my little drop of hope in an ocean of internet hopelessness. I wrote it for that one person who is drowning in panic and paralyzed by fear, in the hopes that they read it and turn their attention to God for a moment, for long enough to smell that overwhelming perfumed scent that reminds us that spring is on it's way, that even in the midst of death and pain and darkness, there is love. That out of chaos life is being found...
And love will persevere.