PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Between Obsession And Oblivion

When I come home after a long day at work, I admit the last thing I want to do is follow what is happening in the impeachment process or even follow what is unfolding in our government. It is doubly hard during the Christmas season.

Truth be told, I just want to put on Christmas music, bake cookies, tune out what is transpiring in the world and soak up the season.

But I know that there is a place between obsession and sticking my head in the sand, and that is where I need to dwell. Because what is unfolding in our country now is unprecedented and if I tune it out as so much noise, or become numb to it, or worst of all, normalize it, then I am complicit.

Indifference is the option for the privileged, the people whose lives are not being destroyed by draconian immigration policies or who aren’t at risk of losing their SNAP benefits or health care or who are not put in harm’s way because of cavalier relationships with allies that turn on a dime. Or those who may not be around long enough to see the consequences that result from the destruction of our planet.

My faith tells me that I need to be concerned about the “least of these” and that true religion is to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with my God.” And part of that walk is to be aware of what is unfolding in my world and to give a damn.

So I tune in to the NPR politics at the very least, or perhaps the “Deadline White House” podcast or Rachel Maddow to get up to speed or scan an article or two.

I can’t live in constant outrage, but if I cease to be outraged by the complete abandoning of democratic norms, adherence to the rule of law and the Orwellian gaslighting that is occurring, then I might as well not have a pulse because I have ceased to care.

Dwelling in that space between obsession and oblivion is where I am called to live — not letting what is happening steal my joy but remaining alert and aware.

In many ways, it is like dwelling in this season of Advent — a time of waiting and watching, in the midst of the darkness, placing hope and confidence in the light that shines through it.

So I am choosing to remain engaged and to care, even in Advent. Especially in Advent. Because the only way to live in the light is to keep looking for it in the midst of the darkness instead of just sitting in the dark and letting my eyes get used to it.

One thought on “PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Between Obsession And Oblivion”

  • Diana Esta Green December 8, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    How much power do we really have?? It seems there is too much to even consider as possible. and that’s the way they want it.


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