If you own a television, a smart phone, a computer, an iPad or have a relationship with anyone named Alexa or Siri, you may have noticed that the world is pretty much going to hell.
I mean that in a figurative way, of course, as the world can longer afford to go to hell, what with gas prices and all. You can’t literally go to hell, although it has literally been hot as hell all summer — though hell is more of a dry heat.
We’ve got wildfires in California and Greece, hurricanes that blow up overnight and have a taste for Cajun food, earthquakes, floods, a pandemic, violence, a broken health care system, continued income inequality, racism, foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism, and don’t even get me started on the whole Britney Spears issue. It all seems a little Toxic.
Throw in some craziness like today’s horrible rap and country music, alligator attacks and kids eating Tide Pods, and it’s enough to make you choke on your deworming pills. Even Joe Biden is starting to suggest, “On second thought, maybe Trump did win the election. He can have it!”
A lot of folks’ reaction to a string of horrible news like we’ve had lately is to wallow in it, especially if you get your “news” from only one point of view and are therefore incessantly triggered.
One side works hard to make things seem worse than they are until you are convinced Jesus is going to come back to Earth and save us all. (By “Jesus,” I mean the recently invented pro-gun, pro-wealth, anti-immigration, anti-gay messiah of right-wing adoration, not the Jesus from the Bible whose Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount make most of today’s evangelicals vomit.) The other side, meanwhile, is in a “woke” spiral of making things worse. I mean, sure, they know exactly to fix everything, but they don’t want to offend anybody.
The flip side of wallowers are the apathetic, a group of folks who prefer more of a head-in-the-sand approach. If they don’t see it, it’s not a problem. They figure if you just don’t watch the “news,” it won’t bother you — unless, you know, your house gets hit by a fire tornado during an earthquake in a hurricane amid a Covid outbreak. Ignorance is bliss. I get it. I have a similar approach with doctors. If I stay away, you can’t diagnose me with an illness.
I don’t wallow, but I don’t like putting my head in the sand, either. (Hurts my back, and, trust me, chiropractic care isn’t cheap, either!) I think it’s good to know what’s happening in the world, so long as you hear from various perspectives — which leads to more reasoning than wallowing. Granted, when you use your sense of reason today, you might find yourself feeling mighty alone. That’s a good time to remember “The Serenity Prayer”:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
You can change the world. I don’t mean by putting on a furry cap with horns and storming the Capitol or tweeting apology demands for whatever snowflake “offense” you have endured today. Those folks generally are not much for serenity, courage or wisdom. But you can volunteer, serve, teach, donate and do little things to make the world at least one iota better for your being alive in it. If 8 billion people each made the world just one iota better, it’d be a pretty darn good place to live, even with the storms and horrible music. You don’t have to be Mother Teresa. Just one iota, at least, better. That’s not too much to ask of anyone — except those who make the world a whole bunch of iotas worse.
So, be aware, but don’t wallow. Expand your perspectives. Be hopeful yet reasonable. Accept what you cannot change. Make the world at least one iota better, not worse. And when the world seems like it’s going to hell or it’s as hot as hell, treat yourself to a frozen margarita. If the news is on, make it a double.
“Ahh. Sweet serenity. With salt.”