Getting Out of Line
I am fed up with the news. I am fed up with church news and politics and just about all of it. I am avoiding the New York Times and NPR except for the occasional glance at some headlines and snippets of the top stories for the hour but I'm not reading/listening to the stories. I'm glancing at the church headlines on blogs and not reading the posts. I know that there are horrors continuing in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan; I think I can't comprehend the details any more.
Not because I'm sticking my head in the sand but because I just want to think about something else while everybody is wringing hands and shouting at one another and spreading all kinds of misinformation and hysteria, because none of that stuff seems real to me any more, at least not right now.
I see real life going on all around me and it doesn't have anything to do with the news. People are going through heartbreak, people are living through difficult transitions, people are searching for some kind of meaning in their lives. That's what's real. As I wrote yesterday, keeping body and soul together is hard. That's what's real to me right now.
My mom's new place has a voluntary program called Stat-check. Each resident's door has a little metal switch on the outside of it. When you press the switch to the right, a red flag appears. When you switch it to the left, the flag is covered up. In the morning when you get up, you open your door and press the switch to the left so the red is covered up. This way your neighbor who is on duty to check everyone's door in the morning will know you're doing ok in there. If you haven't switched your switch, and the flag is still red, your neighbor will knock to see if you're ok, and if you are, then she or he will switch it for you and be on their way. If you don't answer, the staff will telephone you to see if you need any assistance.
Mom is very happy that someone gets up every morning and comes to her door to make sure she is ok. Because of her sight impairment, she probably won't sign up to be a stat-checker herself, but she is glad that others do volunteer for a rotation or two. After living by herself in a house for several years, she is glad to be checked on; she feels safer and cared for by her neighbors. She knows others are concerned with her welfare and are willing to make the effort to put that concern into action. They take time to get up and get dressed and go around the floor making sure the community is accounted for, making sure the neighbors feel safe and cared for.
I just am not seeing all that much concern for community happening out there in the news right now. So for the moment, I'm tuning it out and looking for what's real in the lives of the people I know and care for. I know I'll be back on board with the news soon enough, but for now, I want to look for community instead of lament the lack thereof. I know I will find it if I look around me, here and now.