Right before Christmas at a family dinner, 60 Minutes was on in the background and I sat down to watch their feature on The White Helmets, a civil defense group in Syria that rescues survivors from the rubble of bombed out buildings. It was heartbreaking.
“Why do you want to watch this, Aunt Ash?”, my 9-year-old nephew Carson asked.
I don’t, really. I’d rather pretend it’s not happening. It makes it very difficult to eat breakfast and run errands and walk my dogs and sleep soundly in a comfortable house with a full fridge and cozy bed and no fear of being bombed at any moment.
The reality of life disrupts my precious comfort when my heart is broken sixteen-ways-to-Sunday by 8am daily through the hyper-awareness of every injustice on earth, courtesy of the internet.
How am I supposed to navigate this?
How do I function in our first-world setup while hospitals are being bombed and girls are being trafficked women are still dying in childbirth and there are too many foster kids but not enough foster parents and cancer treatment is bankrupting families and we’re letting the disabled and the mentally ill fall through the cracks and dogs are tied to fence posts in zero degree weather?
(okay, so I totally get that last one is not QUITE as pressing as the others but OhEmGee I am haunted every frigid night by pictures of shivering mutts and it makes it VERY DIFFICULT TO SLEEP BECAUSE WHY AM I NOT DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND CAN I JUST PUT THEM ALL IN MY GARAGE UNTIL WE FIGURE SOMETHING OUT?)
I don’t know how to navigate this place and time. It’s tricky tricky stuff. But I do know cramming my schedule and my house and my brain and my heart full of useless and unimportant “stuff” so I’m too busy to think about it doesn’t help anything.
My strategy involves saying no to a lot of BS so I can preserve my limited personal bandwidth for real stuff.
It’s why I believe so hard in Milagro.
It’s crazy easy (yes, easy) to jam pack my life and ride the momentum of all the crap I’m supposed to care about and chase. It takes a conscious decision from me (every year, every day, every moment) to keep tunnel vision on what matters to me in this life. And time alone in a quiet place is what keeps this decision fresh.
Does keeping healthy perspective turn me into a world changing superhero? Nope. But it gives me a little peace of mind that I’m doing what I can where I am with what I have.
At least until I can create peace on earth, quality worldwide healthcare, a family for every child, and a cure for cancer.
And find a garage big enough for all those dogs.