I have been overwhelmed this past couple of weeks by what has seemed a preponderance of bad news: the shootings at Navy Yard and the subsequent release of video footage of the shooter; the siege of the mall in Nairobi, Kenya; the floods in Colorado; the earthquake in Pakistan; and the crazy that has ensued in our government over the prospect of more Americans having access to health care.
On top of all this, I learned that my "need" to upgrade my cell phone was contributing to the death of children who were forced to mine coltan (a necessary component in our cell phones) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When I mentioned this to a friend, she replied, "Trust me, everything we do is killing somebody."
While I'm sure she was trying to assuage my guilt (my cell phone really is broken), it only put me further into my "blue funk."
There are days when I think it is all hopeless. There are days when I think that human beings are too vain, too entitled, too hate-filled and too selfish to do anything to make the world better. We love ourselves so much there is nothing left for God or neighbor. And if it is true that "everything we do is killing somebody" what point is there in raising awareness, seeking justice, or working for conservation?
I am blessed that when I hit these moments of resignation, the Holy Spirit "threw me a bone." This time, it camein a Facebook post from Bishop Steve Charleston. While his reflection doesn't answer my questions or provide solutions for all of the bad news, it does provides a little food for the journey.
"Hope is not made from rainbows. It is not wishful thinking or soft sentiment. Hope is what is left when most of our other emotions have been spent. Only love is stronger. Hope is the belief that life will emerge again, even from the deepest waters. It is the power of the soul to keep flying against the storm. Hope is God's gift of wanting to see tomorrow. It is the faith we share to save another. I pray this strength to all in need, a hope that grabs the hand and never lets go."
The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw