For years, I’ve avoided the news. I grew up in a home where the news was on multiple times a day. There was the morning report with the all-important weather and traffic segments, the 5 o’clock broadcast which (before the days of DVR and Apple TV) took precedence over anything else you might be watching at the time, and more in-depth shows like 20/20 and 60 Minutes that revealed stories of injustice – the telltale ticking sound in the opening credits was there to tell me that I wouldn’t be watching Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel anytime soon.
As a child, the news was boring to me. As an adult, it simply saddens me. In the years that I’ve been on my own, I’ve been able to choose to not watch the news, to not read the paper, to avoid the grisly images and disheartening stories that seem to permeate this medium.
But I’m coming to realize that my choice to not watch the news and to avoid talking about politics or current events might just be a sign that something is wrong. Perhaps, my ability to turn off the news points to an imbalance. I can shut it off because I feel like it doesn’t affect me as much. But what if the person I saw on the news was my sister, or my dad, or someone else that felt really close to me? What if the issues presented in the political arena seemed more critical to my day-to-day life?
It’s not as though I think politics aren’t important or that the news is totally irrelevant. On the contrary, I know it matters. But I’m starting to see that it should matter more to me – that I have an obligation to listen to and engage in these stories. Because these stories? They’re the narratives of people. People with souls. People with brothers and sisters and moms and dads. People created and loved by God. Continue reading