The world is at our fingertips.
I’m not sure I like that.
I remember when I was younger. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was probably around the age of 12 or 13. I grew up in a small town. Not small enough that everyone knew everyone, but small enough that everyone knew a lot of others. It was an island actually. The fire department was completely volunteer and when a call would come in, a siren would sound that could be heard all over the Island. I liken it to the storm sirens that we now live with in Minnesota. One day, I believe in the spring, the siren sounded. In the next few days news spread about what had happened. A high school boy was pulling a tractor with a pickup truck. Riding the tractor was his friend. Tragedy struck as the tractor rolled and crushed the boy riding it. I don’t remember the name of the boy who died that day, but I do remember the name of the boy who was driving the truck. His parents ended up selling the house where it happened. Our community knew about the accident. It even made the local news, which meant the Western New York area learned of the tragedy as well.
But not the whole world. Probably not even one state away knew what took place that sad spring day on that Island. In fact, there is a strong probability that tragedies happened often in the years that I was growing up. Most of them, I knew nothing about. I’m sure if I went back into the archives of history for any given small town in the USA in the 1970’s, ours would not be the only community that lost a life to an accident.
Today, we are inundated with information. With the press of a button, I can watch news from all over the world. I am closely watching the developments in the Ukraine right now. When I was young, I knew very little of what happened on the other side of the globe, and certainly, if it did make the news in the United States, it was not unfolding before my eyes. I can click the mouse next to our computer and instantly have access to all sorts of news–most of it not good. Tonight, my husband watched our local news. The first few stories told of a little girl found frozen to death outside in -27 degree weather, three college students who died in an accident on icy roads, a memorial service for five children killed in a house fire on Valentine’s day, and a whole segment on the first openly gay player in the NBA. Seriously? Why is that even news? This morning as I read my Facebook news feed, I read an article about a family who lost 2 little children when the SUV the mom was driving slipped off the side of a dam and turned on its side into cold water. The babies were 3 and 6 weeks. My heart broke as I envisioned how this mom must feel knowing she was driving the vehicle.
It is so easy to listen to these reports and feel like the world is spinning out of control. In fact, that is exactly how I often feel when I watch the news. I know that God has the whole world in His hands, but many of the stories heard on the news and read on the internet tug at my heart so much that it often hurts.
As I was talking to my husband this morning about all of this, I made the statement that technology, while it can be a good thing, can also be a difficult thing, especially for someone like me–someone who struggles with emotions. It isn’t feasible to hide my head in the sand and pretend all is right with the world. In fact, that would be impossible to do and probably not very healthy either. Utopia will not exist until we reach heaven; pain, suffering, wars, sickness, and death are a fact of living in a fallen world.
I wonder, though, if a news fast might be a good idea? Maybe limiting my exposure to all that is happening in the world would be a healthy thing for me if only for a time. I’m not saying to pretend these things aren’t happening, but not filling my head with these things every time the news comes on or every time I turn on my computer.
Oh, and the second biggest news story on AOL tonight? Rain has soaked the red carpet at the Oscars.
That kind of news I can handle. It’s slightly ridiculous when compared with everything else going on, but at least it isn’t depressing.