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Joy comes in the morning

Instant communication has its pros and cons. It’s good to keep informed. I appreciate being able to call, email, or zoom loved ones. Platforms such as Facebook allow us to share pictures and news with loved ones far away, but they also allow for dangerous misinformation and provocative videos that are blatantly untrue. Cell Phones come in handy when I forget something or need to contact someone. Being able to easily update friends and family has been wonderful since my husband’s illness. Yet, there is a part of me that feels we were better off when it wasn’t so easy to share all the petty details of our lives or be bombarded with 24/7 news. It wasn’t that long ago that we were forced to deal with our personal garbage on our own rather than sharing it on Facebook or using it to stir up trouble.

People have always held widely varying views and beliefs. There have always been those on the lunatic fringe. Yet, it’s only been in the past 10 to 20 years that the unhinged have been able to infect vast swaths of the population with their virus of hate because of unlimited and uncensored instant communication. Bad news goes viral, it seems, while good news gets buried as irrelevant. If only the 24/7 news cycles talked about all the good things that are constantly happening, instead of rerunning the negative over and over and over, ours might be a different world. Trump would never have been elected if the media had not given him so much coverage just because it was financially profitable and upped viewership.

I am profoundly grateful that our little world is currently defined by my husband’s illness. It is reminding me of what is truly important. Relationships. Of course, I wish his being on hospice were not our reality. Even as I care for him and focus on his needs, my heart breaks when I think of those impacted by racism, genocide, gun violence, and hate based politics. Yet, my husband’s illness is a constant reminder that in the end it is not fame and fortune that matters, but what we do to and for the least of these. We may feel powerless in face of all the negative energy being released in the world, yet being kind and considerate to those around us is not only healing but it releases positive energy into the world. Refusing to promote division is a courageous act of defiance against evil. By accentuating the positive, we invite others to do the same. So called little things — like thanking the cashier at the grocery store or the trash man — can transform the way both we and they respond to our daily ups and downs. We will never correct the ills of the world by unleashing our demons, but we can make an impact by sending out ripples of hope in the pool of life. In the end what is more important than being caring, generous, forgiving and sensitive to those around us?

The Psalmist’s observation made thousands of years ago that while tears may flow in the night, joy will come in the morning remains true for us today. We may have to look for that joy, but it is there. We may have to work at being grateful, but the more we try the more grateful we will become. We may have to intentionally choose love over hate, but it is love that is transformative. We may have to stand against fear one minute at a time, but when we make the effort, life flows more smoothly.

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