When we tune in to the news, or pop into social media, we are inundated with stories of chaos and alarm: dangerous groups, harmful people, corrupt leaders, roving militants, weather gone wild.
What we’re hearing are events outside the norm; what news outlets deem noteworthy, largely advanced as attention-grabbers, sometimes peppered with important information and flavored with flash.
Few news organizations offer journalistic, responsible reporting, complete with comprehensive, unbiased research. But even in the realm of more trustworthy news sources, what we’ll hear and read are extraordinary, unusual events: sometimes critical, often frightening, potentially life-changing, these are deviations from what we hope for or expect. This is what constitutes “news”.
Otherwise, we’d be hearing about the mundane, commonplace events which surround us all, everyday. Random acts of kindness, and moments of tender, supportive love aren’t big news.
Social media is a platform ripe with people looking to rant and commiserate. Generally, this is not the best place for comprehensive, credible news. Your friends are often reposting and commenting on alarming articles without vetting, often without actually reading what they parrot. Face it: Facebook is not chock-full of critical thinkers.
Even the most principled news source’s comments section is a potential stomping ground for those with excess bile and high-speed internet.
The news is overwhelming. Bombs and terrorists, countries failing their citizens, so much loss and death and senseless acts of violence.
The news would have us believing the world’s gone insane.
I am not seeking to minimize the importance of world events: These are real, complex, and intimately impact many of our lives in heavy and long-lasting ways. But headline skimming and exposure to sensationalist journalism leaves us feeling hopeless.
Please, don’t despair. Avoid getting sucked into thinking that what you hear on the news, or read on your Facebook feed, is who we are.
Don’t think for a minute that hate and fear is all we feel, or all that motivates us.
We are full of love and hope, sadness and grief, and resilience.
We are not lost.
All is not lost.