In the midst of all the noise that was the 2016 election cycle, and is the beginning of 2017, I’ve been quietly doing something that feels radical: unplugging from the matrix. We cut cable at my apartment; I’ve logged out of all my social media accounts and restrict their use to the weekends (mostly). I blocked sites that tend to create a feeling of anxiety within me. In a time where news feels more urgent than ever, and the need to connect more vital, I am opting out.
There was just too much anxiety seeping through my screens. Too much surface level discussions and analysis; too little compassion. Too much need for me to be a Savior.
I can’t save the world. Not with the fiercest advocacy, not even with a march of 10 million people. It’s relieving to say, “I can’t do it” because I expect myself to be able to do a lot of things. This hasn’t stopped me from trying, though. Maybe I’ll be the one to post the eloquent status that goes viral, or the pithy tweet that challenges others in the right ways! I haven’t yet though. Usually just my siblings and friends retweet me; nothing happens except I get more hysterical with each new article I see emerging.
It’s very hard to find God in so much inanity, so much dullness. I watch everyone around me reacting, and that’s not all bad, but I wonder how healthy it is. In my own personal life it is difficult to always be reacting; it’s very tiresome. How does that play out in public life? I don’t have enough reactions.
“The deepest part of me is God,” reads a small plastic card stuck on my mirror. I know and believe that, truly, in my core. I sure as hell don’t feel it right now. I know that hope, faith, and love remain. I cannot see how, or where, or with whom sometimes, but I know it. The feelings of anxiety and of vigilance seem more powerful, though. We just have to ride them out, I suppose. You have to either submerge yourself with a wave, or dive completely into and beneath it to survive. (I am terrible at this in real life; waves are horrendous.) If you dilly dally, you get caught in it and bruised badly, saltwater stinging your nose.
If there were an eloquent way to end this, I would. Maybe I’ll say this: the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s certainty. This is not my idea: it belongs to Fr. Richard Rohr, or maybe Henri Nouwen, or maybe any spiritual thinker worth their salt. Maybe this can be an age to clarify my faith, even if it’s going to leave me with salty bruises.