There’s a lot of bad news going around these days, so much, in fact, that it seems to be drowning out the usual, frantic hum of the holiday season. Today, I listened to experts on NPR’s “On Point” debate gun control in light of the Sandy Hook anniversary, closely followed by another news program during which I learned that 78% of Syrians do not have access to clean drinking water.
This is the kind of bad news that makes me feel so powerless I just want to curl up in a ball and look at old copies of House Beautiful and reruns of “Fixer Upper” all day. It’s the kind of news that makes me want to gather up my children, lock my doors, and bake cookies and paint paintings and lovingly read books with them until we’ve all had our fill of magic and simple joy. It’s the kind of news that makes me wish narratives, once established, can be erased. Clean slate! Let’s start over! But, of course, they can’t.
I don’t want to be someone who hides from the world’s realities. I have friends who don’t watch the news as a measure of self-protection, and that’s something I completely understand but can’t quite bring myself to do. But I do need a break from the bad news sometimes, and I think everyone else does, too.
So, I’m starting a little initiative of my own.
I’m going to take a little Christmas joy to social media and post, daily, something uplifting, something beautiful, something that reminds us that the majority of the world is made up of humans rather than monsters – artists, thinkers, dreamers, people, young and old who are courageous and wild and creative in the best and most extraordinary ways. I’m counting this as a Christmas gift I’m giving to myself, and I hope that others might join me.
Several years ago, my husband and I started this thing called “Beautiful Time,” in which we’d sit down for breakfast and share a thing of beauty with our little girls. They were tiny then, and while we all loved the idea, with the arrival of our third child and the overall chaos of our household, we couldn’t keep it in our routine. This initiative of mine may just bring it back, though. We all need a little beauty to warm us up from time to time.
A friend of mine unearthed this Wendell Berry poem the other day and posted it on Facebook, and I’m sharing it here again. May you find a place to absorb the peace of wild things today.
The Peace of Wild Things
3 thoughts on “A Break from the Bad News”
I love this poem and the Kentuckian that is Wendell Berry. Both my cousin and aunt have posted his piece on Facebook and Instagram this year, and I’ve considered using it in a Sunday School lesson I’m contemplating. Your piece resonates with me as we’ve been juggling exposing the kids to the issues facing our world (largely through NPR in the car) while also aiming to provide a safe haven here in our home. It’s a constant struggle but one worth fighting.
Thank you Towles- that was lovely. Wendell Berry seems to always be a calm center in the whirlwind of life. Your concerns are real and as you say can only be borne if we seek out daily doses of Beauty. Beverly
Wonderful..thank you! Hugs!