Monthly Archives: June 2017

Between Apathy and Apoplexy

T.M.I.

When I first came across the acronym I didn’t know it’s meaning, so I did a quick internet search to find out. As you probably know, Too Much Information, is the meaning of TMI. That the answer to my question was delivered to me by the mother of all TMI was painfully ironic.

I confess, I’m addicted to information. The cell phone in my pocket has more computing power than was used when we first sent a man to the moon … and I have access to all that power! Instant real-time weather reports, news from around the globe, stock reports, and ceaseless opinions posted to various social media sites. But that is just the beginning, there is the endless deluge of political chicanery, reports of terrorism, conspiracies and corruption, cruelties beyond imagining … and it never ends. I’ll be honest, if the headline hints at atrocities to children, I stop there and read no further. I don’t want those images bouncing around in my brain. Yes, sometimes it feels like my head is going to explode.

At the other end of the spectrum is just not caring about anything. I mentioned apathy on my Having Skin in the Game post, but it goes beyond that topic. Would life be simpler if I didn’t care about anything but myself? Perhaps. But I can’t do that. I’m not touting that as a virtue. I want to believe that I’m part of a vast majority of people who do care.

How then do you strike a balance between apathy and apoplexy, between just not caring or having a cerebral hemorrhage?

For me, it’s a simple reality check, an inventory of my sphere of influence. At best, I can offer up a prayer for an atrocity on the other side of the world (and I should). But I’m not a mover or shaker of foreign policy or even things closer to home. No one is calling me up to ask my opinion on matters of policy, treaties, social injustice or world peace. That does not mean however that everything is outside of my control or influence.

Everyday I interact with dozens of people … dozens of children of God. From the clerk in the checkout line at the grocery store, to my co-workers, to my family, this is my sphere of influence. This is where I decide how to react to everything from kindness to rudeness. There are no conspiracies, no news or fake news to lay blame upon, It’s all on me, for once I’m in control. Do I answer disrespect with disrespect? Can I offer hope and a simple kindness when by conventional standards it’s not warranted? I have done both.

Upon refection maybe the answer is as simple as the well known Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, “Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other.”

Could it be that simple? I’m willing to give it a try.

(Don’t let your head explode!)

peace, Poppy

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