So, today the news was buzzing about the sad and unfortunate death of Antonin Scalia, one of the conservative judges on the Supreme Court. Flags at the Capitol building are half-staff and the candidates at the debate last night had a one-minute moment of silence, with bowed heads and quiet….one moment to remember a life well lived and then they moved on to the political “debate”.
The news media did not take long at all, however, to immediately turn the death of Antonin Scalia to an uproar about the replacement of this conservative judge. Already, the debate is on…should Obama be able to replace this judge or should the president-to-be-elected in November of 2016 appoint this judge? The acrimonious debate began publicly on the very day of the death, with public officials, media, politicians…countless people jumping in. The very day that Scalia passed away there appeared to be more discussion about the political weight of how this might or might not impact the nation than about the life of an influential man in our country.
And as I watched and listened to the banter, I just breathed a sigh. I breathed a sigh and rolled my eyes and wondered why in the world everything has to be so instantaneous and so reactionary, and so daggone played out in speculation of people who talk way more than they listen. I’m so concerned that there’s such a lack of “think time”, no respect of quiet for a moment to remember before we jump in to all of the political games and implications of what his death will mean for the court, and what it will mean for our country. It is exhausting to listen to the politicians and would-be candidates with their banter and manipulative exchanges, opinions and …lack of respect for the humanity they desire to “serve”. Frankly, there are times when it is just downright embarrassing to listen to the debates and wonder what the rest of the world is thinking as they see our political nonsense being played out.
Children are watching. Skeptical young adults are watching. Older adults who once cared deeply about politics and the way our country is going are now shaking their heads and seeing the futility of it all. The adults who are the designated “Leaders” of our country are so caught up in the nonsense of political polls and strategies and rhetoric, that they are losing their way, losing respect, losing influence. There is so little think time, so little reflection, so little digging deep and standing on a foundation for those who are ‘leading’ our country. Leadership is one thing. I would prefer proactive leaders who act more and talk less. But our media, our fast-paced world, and the need to instantly react rather than reflectively respond is leading. Leading astray.
I think we all need a time-out. Big time.
We all need a moment of silence…a period of time when the instant dings of our phones bids us to respond to the latest text, email, or “news” are turned off. Even the morning “news” shows on TV have become so incredibly ridiculous as the hosts often want to get their word in so much that there is a constant barrage of interruption after interruption and it’s so difficult for the viewer to even decipher what is being said.
As a mom, I was so aware of the value of time-out…for me and for my kids! Sometimes you just need a few minutes to reboot, to rethink, to refocus. Sometimes all that is needed is to take a few minutes to breathe, think through and realize that things don’t have to be so intense…that we can handle things another way. Like an overloaded computer that has too much stimuli coming all at once needs to reboot, children (of all ages!) can be so overstimulated and just need a little breathing time, a little space. It’s amazing how a little time and space, (sometimes in silence, sometimes not!) can make all the difference in the way a day goes.
As a teacher, I’m so aware of the need for “think time” Think time is the time you take to engage your brain on a subject or topic or question BEFORE responding. It is the processing time. It can make all the difference in how we respond if time is taken to think it through first. But in our society of feverishly fast-moving fingers, texting, facebooking, and instagramming, even children are being encouraged to be instantaneous in their responses to whatever stimuli comes their way. We as adults need to stop, breathe, think and model that for our children, and it’s sad to say that that is so going against the grain of our society. We adults have our social media, and are getting caught up in this reactionary way of living as well. Countless hours are lost in scrolling up and down social media, venting opinions to others, getting caught up in the next viral video and responding to that while our children scroll on theirs. Meanwhile…life happens…or doesn’t. Memories are made…or aren’t…eye to eye communication is had, or not.
Anyway, forgive the rant. No answers here. I’ve just been a bit disillusioned by things going on in this political year. I’m totally baffled by the behavior of the present candidates that are representing our nation. I was so sad to hear the banter and political war of words that didn’t skip a beat when Antonin Scalia passed away. The impact of his life will go on. Whether one agrees with his decisions or not, one can know that his responses were educated, well thought through decisions that he knew would impact the world around him for generations to come. He wore the robe as judge and took it very seriously as one who would lead a nation. And I guess that kind of sums up the heart of what I’m saying…we have an impact. May we choose our responses wisely. May we live reverent lives that realize that reactionary instantaneous words spoken in the heat of the moment live on and on and not only go viral, but impact lives.
Yes, I wish that our nation could truly have a moment of silence. I wish we could have some think time of where we’ve been and where we’re going… Of what our part is in it all. I wish that our candidates would stop and take a good look at how they are leading…because good or bad, they are leading. Lots of wishes. Lots of hopes. Lots of prayer needed for sure. Lots of need for some think time for our country. And it starts with me…with each individual.
Again, forgive the rambling rant. But if you take anything from this ramblefest,please take this: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what the perfect will of God is – His good and pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) We are all filling our mind with something….but reNEWing our mind comes with the Hope and Life and Light of Christ that sets free and changes from the inside out. Conformity is easy. Refocusing, renewing, readjusting, going against the grain of society….it all takes conscious effort. It takes time and tenacity and …a determination to stop, to be still…to choose moments of silence in a world full of chatter, banter, and noise. The banter isn’t going to stop. But I need to. God has a way of filling the Quiet with His Presence when we offer the time to Him. And in this crazy crazy world, that gives me hope and strength.
“In quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15