I usually try to pick five. You know, like: Here are five random things that are in my face today. Current events, tv-show hangovers, something food related…that’s how it typically rolls. But today? I’m not really in the mood for skim-my-brain truths.
Let’s be honest: how often do we actual tell the truth? I mean, we all seem to walk around with a standard-issue “I’m fine” stamped on our foreheads. We get asked how our day is going, but we rarely tell the truth about it. If we do, we often leave the conversation disgusted with ourselves for pouring out our misery on someone else; all the while, the someone else is completely flabbergasted that so-and-so might actually be having a bad day.
Am I allowed to have a bad day? Please say yes. Please tell me that I am cleared to look you in the eye and say: “Today sucks.” Because, truthfully, some days are genuinely bad. Some days we wake up feeling like we got run over by a bus. Some days we wake up expecting something great to happen and it doesn’t. Some days we open the shades and find the sun actually isn’t shining today.
When those days happen, I really tend to withdraw from social media. Because it all seems so shallow. It’s those skim-the-brain truths that show up on my news feed, and some days I am really not interested. You had cold pizza for breakfast? I apologize to your stomach. Some monikered celebrity wore another above-my-pay-grade outfit? My bank account is choking. Another financial/political/gossip/housewife/child/religious/insert-your-own-descriptor-here scandal occurred in the six hours since I last checked the web? Hey, my phone died. Give me a break.
Sometimes I think we genuinely need to pull back. I remember coming home from a military funeral; a Navy Seal’s funeral. It was for a cousin that I had never met, one who had always been deployed. Now I watched his dog refuse to leave the casket. I saw his family and relatives I knew, weeping for him. I saw his brothers-in-arms pound their trident pins into his coffin. I cried, and I came home, exhausted. Out of habit, I opened my computer, logged on to Facebook. Saw the miles of drivel occasionally interspersed by a thoughtful word. And I couldn’t take it. I logged out, and was off for several months.
But then there are times when we need someone to draw us back in. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss the entirety of the outside world as sensationalized news, but that would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. We need to be reminded to care. I know I don’t need to know who’s who in the celebrity world, but I do need to know about social and moral issues that are important to me. I want to know what the Supreme Court is ruling about. I want to know about the latest budget negotiations. I want to know about the heroes in our communities. I need to be reminded of things and people outside of myself. So, yeah, I’m going to check the news. I’m going to take it with a grain of salt and copious quantities of alcohol….I’m kidding. I’ll try to read it with an open mind. I’ll call a friend. I’ll pray. I’ll do something other than shut the shades on the dark, dark world.
Some days we need to be reminded that the sun is shining elsewhere. That the world is still spinning. If you can do that through a Google News feed, fine (although I warn you: it gets depressing pretty fast). If you can do that through an honest conversation with a friend, even better. If you can do it through a blog post dump, join the club. Most often I need to find it between the pages of my Bible. It reminds me to be honest: yeah, today is rough. But yes, the sun is still shining.
So here’s today, truthfully:
1. I feel like I’ve been run over by an eighteen-wheeler. There must be a Rae-size impression on an asphalt road somewhere, because I woke up this morning feeling distinctly squashed.
2. I’m really struggling in one of my school classes. My comprehension is somewhere on a scale of zero to nil, and I’m barely managing my 4.0. It’s all sorts of frustrating.
3. I have some unresolved issues with people, but I never know how to deal with them. The elephant in the room showed up again this morning, and I was left wondering if the other person was aware that things have changed between us/may always be different? Is it one of those conversations that I’ll never have? Have they moved on? Should I?
4. I am more like my mother than I will ever admit. Every criticism I carry of her is a reflection on myself, and it should keep me far more humble than I allow it to.
5. The moment I forget everything that God has done and will do in my life is the moment that the sun stops shining in my world.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.”