Upon Accidentally Watching the News

I accidentally watched the local news the other night. Well, “accidentally” may be a misnomer, but it came about because the girls were out at supper time. With just Gerry and me at home, we fell back into our old pattern of tuning in to the local news at 5:00.

I had to walk away because, not only was the doom more than I wanted to get caught up in, the commercials were focused on holly jolly buy, buy, buy seasonal consumerism. No thanks. I’ll stick with my quiet non-traditional trees, a few thoughtful brown paper wrapped things under them, and a handful of Hallmark movies.

I’m feeling restless these days, and a little wobbly. The dark month is almost upon us and it’s time to focus on the light and Advent. I struggled mightily at this time last year and don’t want a repeat.

I’m hungry for a writing project. Images I captured along the journey to write The Presence of Absence brought to mind the pleasures (and tortures!) of having a work in progress. I’m chewing on that and pondering a couple of ideas—even as I wrestle with what to write for the topic my writing group is working on this month.

This morning I came upon some words attributed to Ann Voskamp that ring true. “The hurry makes us hurt.” I know this (see The Presence of Absence: A Story About Busyness, Brokenness, and Being Beloved 🙂 ), but I also know that inertia contributes to another kind of hurt. Ah, the delicate dance of finding balance.

But, back to the evening news, and speaking of balance, watching the commercials was just as stress-inducing as the news itself. The pressure to manifest a picture perfect December is strong. Even now, maybe especially now, having endured 2020, come through more of the same in 2021, and seeing not much improvement as we round the last turn toward 2022. I won’t even try. Hurry makes me hurt.

The restlessness I feel whispers that the balm of busy will ease my discomfort, but I’m not falling for that ruse. I’ve learned that relentless restlessness is actually a call to stillness—not the do-nothing kind, but the lean-in-and-listen kind. the kind that writing invites.The kind that Advent offers.

So, where does that leave things?

Writing project? Yes.

Leaning in to Advent? Yes.

Leaving room for a little Christmas wonder? Absolutely yes.

Evening news? Hard pass.

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I’m a writer, reader, photographer, and gardener. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things.

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