It gets inside you
I heard the news today, oh boy.
Death. Violence. Sex. We are a culture obsessed by them.
Are we, or is our media? Does the media simply reflect our tastes, or is it projecting its own upon us?
Some of the headlines found on the NBC News website this morning were as follows:
- Second teen arrested WWII vet’s fatal beating
- ‘Nice little boy,’ 3, critical after NYC shooting
- Crews raze homes next to Cleveland house of horrors
- 11-year-old lung transplant patient on her way home
- New ovarian cancer test may speed up detection
- Popular Pa. teacher vanishes in Calif. Wilderness
- Are they cuckoo? Sex drive-in opens in Switzerland
- Parents face the student loan double whammy
- Those secret recipes mostly a heaping helping of hype
- Where cockfighting is ‘just making a living’
- Estranged wife abducted, held hostage for 30 hours
- VIDEO: Daily sex for a year? Here’s what she learned
- Second teen arrested WWII vet’s fatal beating
- Spain’s millennials despair in dismal economy
- Billions wasted on paperless vet health records
- 4,000 run from the bulls in Virginia event
- How Snowden did it
- Boy fighting brain-eating infection on ventilator
- School districts struggle to bolster security amid dwindling resources
- Celebs confused, horrified by Cyrus at VMAs
- Stars on Batman casting: Give Affleck a chance!
- Miley gets embarrassingly raunchy at VMAs
- ‘Breaking Bad’ is burning down the house
And these don’t include political or international headlines that would have included the ethnic cleansing of Christians from the Middle East, the gassing of thousands in Syria, or the political sex scandals of about anyone running for office in New York City or disgraced ex-mayors of San Diego.
All of which leaves us looking at our media screens with expressions much like the Will Smith family at the Video Music Awards show last night:
But for every negative there is a positive. For every yin a yang. And here I use yin and yang as examples of complementary, not opposing, forces. There is good to be found within those headlines if one digs deep enough and past the superficiality of our sound bite culture. I believe this. I must. The alternative is just too dark and dismisses God and His Creation. Grace. Redemption. Salvation. All would cease to exist or have meaning in that alternative reality.
We are more than the “now” of this moment in time. Things we do today do in fact echo throughout eternity. Giving it to the darkness is easy. Lazy, in fact. There’s nothing to it.
To do otherwise is hard. It’s challenging. As Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) said to his star player Dottie Hinson (played by Geena Davis) in the movie A League of Their Own:
Dugan: Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up. You can’t deny that.
Hinson: It just got too hard.
Dugan: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.
Substitute the following words in place of the word “baseball”: God. Jesus. Faith. Beauty. Put any one of those words in place of the word baseball and say those lines out loud. They are “too hard” and too easily neglected or untried. Many try and give up. Because it got too hard.
Perhaps all of this sounds too pollyanna-ish to a hard, cold cynical world. Maybe I should wait until I speak to friends of mine later this week. They, along with their youngest son (a senior who is a baseball teammate of my son) escaped their burning home Saturday afternoon with nothing but the clothes on their bodies and a vehicle parked curbside. Their home, and a lifetime’s possessions, destroyed. Almost immediately our baseball family organized relief efforts, as did others who know this family. In the immediate aftermath of this event which fortunately saw no lives lost they might tell me I’m wrong about my outlook. With the passage of time, and reflection, their response may be different.
We will never know the good, if any, that comes from the stories listed above. I wish I had the answers. But experience has taught me that the good does exist and reveals itself in Time. It can depend upon what we choose to see and where we place our emphasis. It depends on whether we take the short-attention-span-sound-bite view and move quickly on to the next thing, or if we have an eye looking towards eternity and on the things close to us in our own lives over which we do have some control, or at least a greater illusion of doing so.
As an antidote to frustration, or despondency, or anger at the state of the world today I suggest that you watch a little classic from 1963, Lilies of the Field. It is, as one Amazon.com reviewer puts it, a “story about growth, sacrifice, faith, and the power of human beings to occasionally work a small miracle or two.”
This scene is one of my favorite among many: