A long time ago (like in late 2016 or early 2017) Fr. Joe Freedy once gave a homily that said to turn off the News. I thought that was a crazy idea because I listened to NPR essentially all day every day. I loved knowing the news — being informed and knowledgeable about what is going on.
But I also knew it was making me upset — like an on-edge feeling in my heart and really messing with me more than I knew. So I did the unthinkable – I cut news out of my life. I stopped listening to the news – almost entirely. I used to stream NPR at work – I stopped. I used to head to/from work listening to NPR – I stopped and my dial is now permanently tuned to WAOB. All weekend I would have my headphones on and listen to NPR’s weekend news, but I stopped that too.
I work at a newspaper so I end up seeing some news headlines from time to time, but other than that I only listen to one weekly podcast (On The Media) and read the Sunday newspaper.
I am severely underinformed. [Ryan always asks me if I’ve heard the [X] news and most of the time I haven’t. He is always surprised even though I constantly remind him I’m actively trying to not know the news.] On a physical, emotional, personal level — I am not on-edge. My soul feels calmer. My life is less worrisome. There will always be news, but I don’t always have to know what it is!
So his crazy suggestion has been very helpful in my life and I thank him for that! I’ve done a 180 on the news and have been very surprised to learn that being uninformed actually works for me. The world can crumble around me or amazing things can happen — and it’s not that I am indifferent, but not knowing makes my soul at peace and I highly value that calmness.
So I offer you one crazy suggestion: Turn off the News. I know that it is crazy talk. I know that is seems impossible, even impractical, but if you can force yourself away from the constant bombardment of the news and other people’s noisy commentary and fear-inducing coverage of the world you will notice a change within yourself. Cut out the news and instead make it a point to incorporate more Jesus into your life — read the day’s scripture readings, pick up the Bible, sit with a good book, and get your heart right with God. And when you spend your days focused on the right things – on the eternal Word of God instead of that day’s momentary interest – you will be better equipped to handle it when the world inevitably bears unbearable news.
It is a daily journey to walk the line between being over-informed and informed-just-enough, but if you can find that “sweet spot” that is the right fit for you I pray that it brings you a heart less worried about the world and one that is closer to God! 🙂