But then it’s also been a year in which crazy religious people have done things that seem….well, crazy. Horrendous acts, that make any sane person wonder what the world is coming to, have been splattered across the news on a far too frequent basis.
I travelled to my old home in South Africa this year. It’s a country that will intoxicate you with beauty one minute and sober you with heart-wrenching social chaos the next. Chaos is the only word I can use to describe a situation which has folks crying out for racial equality on one hand and practicing genocide on the other. It’s just a really difficult place to spend any time at all in and not come away feeling conflicted on some level.
Lately, I get that same feeling every time I visit FaceBook. It’s just a constant stream of stories and events that one moment lift me up and make me feel proud that I’m a human being with the capacity for love and understanding, and then the next moment make me ashamed to be still sucking air.
We know a lot more about the world we live in these days. We hear about it when things happen in other countries. We can follow stories developing in real time. We know about where our produce comes from when we buy it at the grocery store. We are not isolated from the chain of events that brings us food and necessities to convenient locations. We know that we are affecting the world we live in and we know that increasingly it is affecting us.
It’s difficult to know how to respond when there are so many stories and people and events and causes screaming at each of us for a response. It’s beyond our capability to completely care for everything we come across. It’s beyond our capability to even discern what deserves our care because we are just too inundated. We feel too much, too often. We are too accustomed to allowing those feelings to wash over us and then dissipate into oblivion. We live in eternal expectation that something else will come along and we will pay attention to that when it happens. We might even be addicted to that feeling. It makes us feel good that we still feel.
But it’s not hopeless. If you start sifting through the barrage of information that is slung at you on a daily basis you will see that, amidst the stories of ISIS and global warming and genocide and corruption, there are also stories of progress and love and kindness and social uplift. There are still people out there caring for other people. There are still people building things for future generations. There are still people creating art. There are still people cleaning up messes left by other people.
At some point during the last year, as I thought about what I’ve been describing above, I realized that I don’t really want to add to the darkness in this world. There’s plenty of it to go around and I’d rather not add to it or dwell on it. I decided I want to be a channel of positivity and grace. I want to find the good stuff and highlight it and show it to other people. The only thing that combats darkness is light and if I’m going to continue breathing air and damaging the world I live in, then I’d like to try and be an agent of light.
As the new year approaches I wish you the very best. I pray that God will grant you grace and mercy and love and peace and light. He already has.Share on Facebook