We live in a time of anxiety and stress. Since the early 2000's we have experienced long-term war in the Middle East, paralyzing political divisiveness that continues to increase with each year, a slow recovery from a recession which still impacts the lives of many, the ongoing fear of terrorist attacks, mass shootings in our schools and malls, recent strife in Ukraine, and now, the deadly Ebola virus which has killed thousands in Africa and has reached our own shores.
Of course, throughout the course of history, there have been anxious and terrifying times. Wars and plagues, political and religious upheaval, poverty and starvation have been with us across the generations.
I believe that technology today increases our anxiety over the issues that face us. There are 24-hour news broadcasts always looking for something new to report, often without completely checking the facts before passing along the news. Bloggers on the internet can write anything they choose, and there are those who believe anything they read, regardless of the source. It can be very difficult to distinguish between a blog written by someone knowledgeable about his subject and a blog written by someone who is misinformed. Journalism was once an honorable profession, but today it seems to be more important to be "first" with a story than to be accurate. Rumors fly and people usually tend to believe the worst of what they hear.
Which brings me to our latest worry -- the Ebola virus -- and I am a terrible worrier. Knowing that this virus is now in our country makes me very uneasy. Hearing of the mistakes made already in these first three cases is disheartening. But, unfortunately, I think in their efforts to reassure us, our government and health officials made us believe that we were in very little danger because we were prepared. However, as we can now see, human error, lack of training, and sloppy adherence to procedure is always possible. The news and the internet teeter between false reassurances and terrifying predictions. We must not focus on the alarming news before we know all the facts. Be vigilant and informed, but try to discern between serious news and sensationalism.
In the midst of the chaos and tensions in the world, we must tend to those things which we can control. We must take care of our own little portion of the world. We must get up in the morning, do our work, take care of our children, cook our meals, enjoy time with our friends and family, reach out to our neighbors, pray, and remember that we can change only those things which are under our immediate control.
It is autumn -- one of the most beautiful of seasons. Spend your day celebrating this loveliness around us. Pick apples, bake a pie, rake leaves, take your children to pick out their pumpkins or Halloween costumes. Savor the pleasures which surround you. Enjoy your weekend!! Maintain your perspective over what you can and cannot control. Remember, what will be, will be --