I used to be almost proud that I didn’t watch the news and chose to censor myself from hearing about the bad stuff. I’m really sensitive to things I’m exposed to in the media. For example, as my friends and family know, I cannot watch scary movies. You may laugh at them, but they hit me hard. I can’t stop thinking about them even though I know they aren’t real. I can’t watch war movies or any kind of action movies really. I remember having this sensitivity since I was a young child. I see it in my daughter already too. She can’t see the witch decorations around Halloween and she has to fast forward in movies and TV shows that are perfectly ok for her age.
My coping mechanism has been to just not see those things. While I think that’s a pretty good method, there is one area where I now think I was wrong. And that is when it comes to what is going on in the world. I recently started reading the Wall Street Journal again. Yes, the paper version. Instead of reading news stories online where I just completely skipped through to those that I wanted to read, I read as much of the newspaper as possible. I read about what is happening all over the world and outside of my own industry.
One of the most disturbing things was story after story about Syrian refugees. The pictures were horrifying. Particularly, this one. The amount of them that were dying while en route to safer places. How the nearby countries just weren’t prepared for the volume of them and didn’t know what to do. I struggled in thinking about this. What was the solution? I hadn’t been keeping up with the news before so I didn’t know why it was so bad in Syria. These were people just like you and me. People with families. Families with little kids like my own.
There is loads of information now about this topic – particularly after the attacks in Paris. It woke the world up to the problem. But it also woke up nastiness. Backlash against the very people who were fleeing from these evil forces present where they lived. It’s heartbreaking. I couldn’t turn my head.
I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt helpless. So, I researched organizations that were trying to help. I donated to a few of them. My neighbor started collecting baby carriers for Carry the Future. I searched my basement for ours to donate. While I was searching for the carriers, I saw the excess that we had. We had so much more stuff than we needed. And we were heading into the holiday season. This made me want to be more intentional with our holidays. I donated money to various organizations. I want to do more than these things though. I’m still trying to figure out what that means for me. I feel like I’m meant to do more than click the “Donate” button.
The thing is, the very fact that I’m so sensitive to these things means I need to keep reading. Because it affects me so much that I have to do something. And it’s people like me that can make a difference. Maybe it’s people like you reading this too. So let’s not censor what we allow ourselves to see about the world. Let’s open our eyes and try to help in any way we can.