I read two devotionals every morning before I start my day writing. It never ceases to amaze me how often the daily topics mirror something that is going on in my life or something I’ve recently been thinking about. That’s exactly what happened Saturday when I picked up Shauna Niequist’s Savor book of devotions and read “Come Dance with Me.” She says we need to celebrate. We need to dance. Dance? How can we celebrate when the bad news batters us constantly? It seems the world is falling apart at an increasingly rapid rate. Yet, I continue to watch the news like a spectator who can’t turn away from watching a train wreck occur. I used to be a newspaper reporter and my husband was a TV news photographer for more than twenty-five years. We’re admitted news-aholics. We start the day with the news, watch the noon news, the national news at five-thirty and the local news again at six. I read Time Magazine and follow the major news agencies on Twitter.
Anybody who is plugged into the twenty-four-hour news cycle likely has a permanent sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach these days. The sky is falling all the time. The world is crumbling. The vitriolic, hateful, mud-slinging, name-calling, nastiness of the presidential campaign makes us feel that the dark days of the apocalypse are surely upon us. Mass shootings, bombings, war, drugs, and famine are like the plagues that descended upon Egypt.
How are we supposed to rejoice and be glad in the day the Lord has made when all we see is doom and gloom all around us? Shauna calls me out and smacks me on the head for thinking like this. She says, “Come dance with me on the fresh graves of apathy and cynicism, the creeping belief that this is all there is, and that God is no match for the wreckage of the world we live in. What God does in the tiny corners of our-day-to-day lives is stunning and gorgeous and headline-making, but we have a bad habit of saving the headlines for the grotesque and scary.”*
The media leads us in that direction and we follow like meek sheep to slaughter. We shake our heads and remember the bloody headlines instead of the story about the young track runner who helps a fellow competitor with cerebral palsy and autism make it to the finish line and lets him cross first. We forget about the stories of electric company workers loading up their trucks in San Antonio to drive two days into the hurricane in Florida to help restore power to thousands of storm victims. We forget about the workers who go to Haiti to rebuild and fight the cholera epidemic. We forget about our church members who go to Malawi in Africa to take blankets to children who sleep on the ground in the cold of winter. Who teach women how to make crafts to sell so their families can eat. We forget about the strides that are being made by researchers who dedicate their entire adult lives to beating cancer and ALS and other life-threatening diseases. We forget about miracle babies and sunsets and the beauty of the ocean beating on the rocks along the shoreline. We forget about changing seasons and weddings and fortieth anniversaries and ninetieth birthdays. We forget about beautiful poems written on napkins and novels that speak to our hearts in ways that astound us. We forget about flowers blooming and suns rising and setting.
The good news is with us every day in more ways than one. I really believe what goes in is what comes out. If we fill ourselves up with the good stuff, we’re more likely to feel like celebrating life and shining our light on others. Shauna says this about it, “I believe [celebration] is a serious undertaking, one that has the potential to return us to our best selves, to deliver us back to the men and women God created us to be, people who choose to see the best, believe the best, yearn for the best. Through that longing to be our best selves, we are changed and inspired and ennobled, able to see the handwriting of a holy God where another person just sees the same old tired streets and sidewalks.”
What good news do you celebrate today? Feel free to share in the comments.
(*From Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist. Zondervan 2015)