What is ‘the news’ anyway?
Is ‘the news’ just that account of events in the world that we see on TV or read on the web?
What about the way a young woman tucked her children into bed last night with such grace and kindness? The volunteers from churches, synagogues and mosques who this week provided warmth, food and overnight shelter to people otherwise sleeping on London’s streets? The reconciliation between brother and sister, long separated and estranged, with hugs and tears? The words of guidance and wisdom shared between teacher and student that bring a new possibility into view? The volunteers who planted life-giving trees on a dry hillside providing shelter not for themselves but for the generations who will come after them? The music composed, books written, scientific discoveries made, art created? The acts of great compassion, kindness, and dignity that happen in ordinary lives, day by day.
When we think of ‘the world’ as if it’s the same as the highly selective narrative of events we see on ‘the news’ it’s no wonder our fear and isolation are what we mostly get to feel. And no wonder that we feel our hearts hardening, our despair growing, and our deepening sense that nothing can be done.
But while the many shocking, frightening, disturbing events that are in the news do happen, and require our response, what’s ‘new’ in the world each day is not just that. It is barely that.
And remembering this might help us respond with our own dignity, kindness, compassion and love right when the world most seems to need it from us.