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What do we do with the news?

Will and Kate have married. Osama bin Laden has been killed. The U.S. DOW dropped. The Endeavor's next space flight is postponed. FEMA is setting up "pods" for tornado victims in Alabama. My grocery store rearranged everything.  All news. All part of my time and space. But not anything I can do something with or about. What can one do with the news?

First, limit intake. News is a substance, like milk and alcohol. Too much of anything is a bad thing.
Second, ask what you can learn from it. That may be the only "doing" we have in relation to the news. I learned a lot from the latest royal wedding. Unlike the media hoopla surrounding it, the ceremony itself was sacred, serene, and beautiful. The Bishop of London preached a sermon that could be read at any wedding. The couple's choice of scripture and prayer was exquisite. And, I learned that England needs to have laws about hats.

I learned that bin Laden used a woman as a human shield during the attack. If this is true--and it's hard to verify everything online--it's a sickening truth. Martyrdom?  Whatever the religion, martyrdom is not defined by this kind of inhumanity or cowardice.

I learned that people still do not understand the complexity of what breeds terrorism--nor do they understand that bin Laden in no way acted alone on 9/11, nor has his death resolved anything of substance. I'm not saying he did not deserve justice or death, either one, only that his demise solves nothing, prevents nothing, and diminishes no one's grief.

I learned, once again, that I can pray for anyone and everyone I hear about on the news, including the victims of tornadoes, tsunamis, and other misfortunes. I would like to send monetary donations to all of them, but that is not possible. Prayer, though, of that I have endless supplies.

I complained to my grocery store. I learned that my problems with their rearranging didn't matter to them.  What my grocery store has yet to learn is that I've bought less  because I don't remember where everything is, and I often go home without something I intended to buy, which lessens their profits.

Still, I feel this need to do. Maybe that is partly why there are so many blogs online that comment on the "news," this insistent need to do something about it, with it, for it, against it. And in commenting, in finding an outlet, we feel that we have done something with the news.  But we haven't.

Photo by Ysabel de la Rosa

I come back to the phrase by Zen Master Sunryu Suzuki:  
"Shine one corner of the world."  
I have a corner. You have a corner. If everyone were to shine their one corner, what a world this could be--and so full of good news. News that would make us 
happy to be, rather than restless to do.


jan said…
You are so wise . . Thank you for this. I received the poetry poster and I'm saving it for a quiet evening to open, savor and enjoy .. Too much input, so many issues, but I am trying to shine my little corner .. If I cam just get people to quit sweeping stuff into it!
Amen, sister. I find it all so troubling. And I have to remind myself that when I say "All I can do is pray," that that is indeed action--the best kind. Love the image of people sweeping stuff into that corner! I do understand!

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