I remember having a conversation with a friend in the fall of 2015 and stating very clearly that if the two candidates who appeared to be the ones who would be nominated to run for President of the United States by their respective parties were to actually get that far then I could not bring myself to vote for either one. They did–and I didn’t.
And, as I watched and listened (because I still get most of my news from the radio…yes, really!) I heard and saw things that were deeply disturbing to me. I found myself wondering as a former reporter, what it would be like to cover that campaign and whether I would have the stomach for it anymore. (The answer to the first question is I’d rather be beaten with a stick than cover politics now. The answer to the second question is NO, I don’t have the stomach for it anymore. It would destroy me. I’m not that tough and don’t want to be.) I wondered if trying to keep up and figure out what was real, what was truth, and what wasn’t would even be possible in such an atmosphere.
I have watched the world through many lenses. Through the innocent eyes of a child, the naive’ eyes of a teenager and college student, the hopeful eyes of a young adult, the eyes of one who lost her focus, through the eyes of a mother, and for all my years through the eyes of a female. But, what most influences the way I see the world and the way things play out in it these days is through the eyes of a grown woman who is a follower of Christ.
And, as I watched and listened to the constant, endless, relentless, words that were hurled and screamed, words that maimed and hurt, pummeled and destroyed, incensed and ignited, I could hear my Grandma James. She used to say to my brother and me when we weren’t behaving, “now, don’t you be ugly.” That was her way of saying we were acting badly and needed to straighten up. Quickly.
What I think we’ve been witnessing for too, too long is ugly in it’s ugliest form. But, somewhere in that ugliness I saw a truth.
And, that truth is this…
If you and I are looking for honesty, love, kindness, peace, integrity, justice, or anything that looks or sounds or feels like the good news of Jesus Christ you ain’t gonna find it there!
So, stop looking in that direction for anything of substance or meaning. Seeds can’t grow in rocky, sandy, or poor soil. They can’t grow in toxic waste, either. (If ever there was an EPA Super Fund site that needed cleanup, well that would be the one.) We can try to plant good seeds with the best intentions for the right reasons. But, if we plant them in soil and in conditions that offer nothing to further growth, then even the best seed will die. It has nothing to work with and nothing to work for it.
Find better ground.
The only thing that ever really has a chance to make change happen and can allow for abundant growth is for people to do the two things Jesus told us to do: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul, and strength. And, love your neighbor as yourself. Love God. Love Neighbor. Love Self. Get it? Got it? Good!
We can spend all our time worrying about the latest Tweet from the President, the latest White House press briefing, the latest stock market report, the latest insult, the latest scandal, or the latest rumor. We can wring our hands and wail and gnash teeth till the cows come home. And, that will change absolutely nothing.
I often tell the children I work with in ministry that what you do and what you say matters. And, what you don’t do and what you don’t say also matters. So, make your choices wisely. And, make your choices in and with and for love.
Find better ground. For whatever you want to see happening in the world that makes things better for others or for you, go there and tend to what needs doing. Give the gift(s) you’ve been given to something of substance, to something that really matters. And, don’t wait for someone else to fix it. It just might be you are the someone else who can.
Find better ground. And, when you find it, be light there. Be love. Be hope. Have mercy. Show grace. And, then see if that makes any difference. What have you got to lose? Maybe the better question is what do you and someone else have to gain?
I wish you peace…