When I was a kid my favorite Sunday school song was This Little Light of Mine. I love the thought of letting the light shine through you, of being a beacon of hope in a world of darkness.
I have always felt like a ray of sunshine. I have always been a positive person, the kind of person determined to find good in others, to find good in every situation. I believe in being good and kind to others, taking personal responsibility for your actions and being accountable for your mistakes. I believe in giving where I can, taking care of myself and my family and I believe in the power of prayer and I think it is simply amazing the things God will do in a life with just the tiniest bit of faith.
I believe in miracles.
I believe in love.
I believe in the power or persistence and I think you can do all things that you believe you can. I believe there is power in your thoughts, your words and your laugh.
Lately though, I feel like my little light is being slowly blown out. Actually blown out doesn’t accurately describe it. It feels like it is being suffocated; as if my little light, the one that has sustained me for so long, that has been a defining characteristic of my life, is alone in a pitch black room that someone is slowly draining of oxygen so that the light is getting dimmer and dimmer by the day.
As the light gets dimmer, my view of the world darkens, my hope drains, my empathy disintegrates into apathy, my love for my fellow man evaporates into nothing, my faith shrivels and my happiness vanishes. My desire to make a difference in the world, no matter how big or small, wanes to nothingness. I feel as if I am becoming a bitter, sad, indifferent, easily breakable shell of the vibrant, strong, happy person I once was.
I have given hours and hours of thought to what has changed, to why I would feel as though my light is going out.
The first thing that came to mind is that I have never been a fan of watching the news. I have always felt like they reported only the worst news and not much, if any, of the good stuff – the real stuff – that makes up our everyday lives. Watching the news has always had a negative effect on me. I don’t watch the news, I don’t read the newspaper. I have had friends ask me about major national events and I have had no clue what they were talking about. I catch snippets of the headlines on the radio and my internet homepage is set to cnn.com so I see the headlines daily, but rarely do I actually read any of the stories.
I don’t follow politics because no one in politics is honest, no one truly cares about the people who elect them and I don’t believe that much of anything you and I do makes any difference at all – November’s election leaves no doubt in my mind that this is true.
I don’t dwell in the book of Revelations or spend time watching / listening to end times or worst case scenario programs. If I had the ability to know the date and time of my death, I’d never look at it.
Some people will say that it is irresponsible of me to avoid the news this way. I disagree. We are not all gifted with the same talents and strengths. Some of us are created to be way makers, world changers, warriors, fighters, big deal difference makers. But others of us were created for a quieter effect. We are the peacekeepers, the ones who encourage, the ones who teach, the ones who heal, who comfort. There are many types of people and the world requires all of us to function.
Warriors would be hard pressed to continue to fight if they were to spend all their time in warm, comfortable settings and their spirits would be stifled, they would be dis-satisfied. Way-makers would find it difficult to find satisfaction in an easy world where everything went their way. Debaters would not live comfortably surrounded by people who didn’t enjoy confrontation and a good strong debate. Likewise, this ray of sunshine doesn’t stay well lit and happy when immersed in constant bad news and omens.
I know I am going to die someday. I know the world is going to hell (faster than we’d like, I’m sure). I know the end is near (it has been for a couple thousand years). I know there is evil in the world. I know bad things happen. I know they happen even to good people.
But lately, I find myself IMMERSED in scary, negative, overwhelmingly bad news. I don’t turn on the news, don’t read the paper, don’t search it out on the internet… yet, now more than ever before in my life, the stream of bad news, conflict, despair… seems never ending.
I work from home, mostly isolated (which is not good for me, but that is a post for a different day). One of the only contacts I have with the outside world on a daily basis is Facebook. I have my Facebook open all day, I check in on it every few minutes and looking closely at the causes for my new found and fairly constant state of sadness and despondency requires me to look closely at the contents of my Facebook timeline. As I write this post, the top 30 items in my Facebook news feed fall into these categories:
Encouraging / Uplifting: 4
Personal status updates: 10
Politics/ News/ Conflicts/ Negativity: 9
That is pretty much what the entire day consists of.
The other new influence here in Georgia are the friends we spend our time with. There is seemingly only talk of doomsday, conspiracy, coverups, politics, oppression and the world going to hell in general. Every once in a while there is talk about football and occasionally there will be something as mundane as what tv shows or movies have caught our attention.
Between the isolation of my day and the limited contact I have with the outside world, it feels like no matter where I go, no matter which way I turn, I am drowning in negative thoughts. I can’t find my way out, I can’t find my little light, I can’t seem to find the good anywhere.
Maybe deleting my Facebook account would help. At least it would be one less thing. I don’t know what the answer is. No matter how often I think about it, I can’t seem to find the solution. It is terrible to me to think that my little light has been extinguished and that my ability to affect the world in the way I was intended too has been lost.
I was never meant to be a way maker, a game changer, a policy maker, a mover and a shaker. I was not made to lead riots, to incite change on a global, or even national scale. I do not possess the tools to change the world on such a large scale. It is overwhelming to me to even think of trying.
I had a much different but just as important role – one that I was blessed to live, equipped to carry out. I was meant to be a ray of sunshine, a beacon of optimism, a happy blessing to the people around me. I was meant to dance in the rain, smell the flowers, walk barefoot through the grass. I was meant to remind others to enjoy life, make the most of the little moments that take your breath away and make your heart swell with happiness. I was meant to sit quietly with those who are hurting and pass strength and healing to them, to pray over them and believe for a better day. I was meant to be a listener, to discern the right words to offer as advice and encouragement. I was meant to be the crazy one, the fearless one, the one who always had fun.
But, I can no longer find my joy, my hope, my faith, my purpose… and without them, I am just a pile of flesh… barely existing… just waiting for the end… an empty shell of the person I was.
I miss the girl I was. I miss being happy. I miss knowing that no matter what happened, I was living the life I was supposed to be living – that I was living in a way that brought joy to others, that brought peace, that guided and helped my children understand that there is more to the world than terror and despair… and that when the end of the world came, I would be swooped up into the arms of the Father and taken to Heaven.
Call it naivety, la la land, disassociation – whatever you choose. All I know, is that I was happier without all this “knowledge” I’ve been subjected too over the past few months. I can’t make our government behave, I can’t make a crazy gun-toting psychopath not walk into a school in a peaceful small town and kill babies, I can’t make our politicians less corrupt, I can’t make the evil in the world go away. I just can’t. I can only be made numb by them. I can only be jaded by them.