Two years ago, we made a choice. You ready? Wait for it, wait for it….
We turned off our cable.
I know, drastic. It was for us at first. I wish I could tell you it was because we wanted to detach the children from it, but that would only be mildly true. The truth is that it was one penny closer to maintaining our decision to have a stay at home parent. However, I came to realize something.
I was happier, but not for the reasons you might think. Again, I wish I could tell you it was because we saved that money, but again, that would only be mildly true. The truth is I didn’t have to start my mornings off feeling immense sorrow that unfortunately for people like me, finds its way to us all on its own. It’s actually even FREE!
The past few months have prompted me to resort to Google, YouTube and other resources to follow what many of us are still invested in.
I was drawn in like many of you were, but I’m not sure we were drawn in for the same reasons. I watched and many times, found myself feeling like I was in hypothermic shock. It was cold. All of it. So, I would scroll along other videos and see what else of the “daily news,” I could update myself on. Only to find myself drawn into more immeasurable pain and anguish.
~Children who were separated from their siblings after a chlorine gas attach in Syria.
~Syrian hospitals bombed with hundreds of staff caring for defenseless infants and children.
~Videos of indigenous nations protesting the pipeline near the Cannonball and Missouri rivers that would severely impact sacred tribal sites and quality drinking water.
~Children being separated from their siblings and placed in foster care.
~The Tennessee bus crash that left innocent children dead and communities grieving.
Nearly sick to my stomach with grief (and anger), I thought the local news would be lighter, but it wasn’t.
~A homeless veteran arrested for trespassing to collect money along a major intersection. ~A homeless family grieving the loss of their child and sibling in a house fire.
~A child grazed by gun fire outside of his home while he was outside playing.
Surely as the day would pass, I was convinced I would hear better news. Instead, I was reminded that pain is here too.
~A single mother trying to survive with her son who remains her only true lifeline and running from the very stability her heart is chasing after.
~A friend grieving the loss of the dreams that will go unfulfilled by her son with severe mental health needs.
~A neighbor fighting cancer who is too sick to shovel his driveway so he can get to his own medical appointments.
~A mother who is too afraid to tell her husband that she is in need of help, because she is imprisoning herself to fear of judgment and rejection.
This doesn’t even scrape the surface of it. It’s everywhere. It’s them. It’s you. It’s me. It’s all of us.
See, what people don’t tell people like us who were born with that contagious “disease” called sensitivity, is that those stories haunt us. We’re not void of the haunting because today happens to be a holiday. For me, it’s not like watching a television show that you can just turn off and be assured that it’s not actually real. There are moments when I just know my wellness can’t handle the pain, trauma, indifference, hatred, intolerance and violence that is saturated on the television and internet. Then, there are moments like today that are supposed to be about gratitude, connection and blessings. What about them? What about those people? Is anyone thinking about how they’re spending their holiday?
I do and there are moments I admit, it even robs me from enjoying what I should be grateful for. I get it. It’s sad, so it feels better to tune it out, especially on days like today. Two years ago, we made a financial choice, but today I am reminded of my refusal to allow that choice to make me immune to taking responsibility for knowing what is happening in the world around me.
There and here.
Today, I am grateful for many things. I am grateful for choosing to limit our cable because I truly just can’t take it (for now anyway), but most importantly I am grateful for keeping everyone in my thoughts. I am not resting with silence today. As I continue my day, it’s not without thinking about all of the people who are truly suffering, alone, afraid, rejected, sick, unsafe, abandoned, divided, unsure, sad, grieving and forgotten.
I may have turned our cable off, but I won’t tune you out. Knowing it’s not a “happy” Thanksgiving for so many of you out there today, please know I’m thinking of you and that I am mostly grateful for the platform that hopefully permits even one of you to feel it.
In love and truth,