I’m a person without a filter. Most people can watch the news and feel a bit of a personal distance from the tragedies, but I can’t. My solution has been to stop watching the news. It might sound shallow, but I’ll surf the Yahoo news for pleasant stories and celebrity gossip. It’s about all my poor heartstrings can handle.
I recently came across an article that said that we should be careful about what we allow into our minds. Violent images actually change us when we see them, and after seeing enough of these horrors, we actually have a lower ability to feel sympathy for the victims. And there is no un-seeing it. You have to live with that image in your mind for the rest of your life. One click of the mouse, and you are stuck with it forever.
I once watched a TED video by a guy recounting war tragedies in Afghanistan, and there was one that broke my heart so badly that I turned everything off and just cried. It was horrible. I still think of it from time to time, when I desperately don’t want to. It pops into my mind. I can’t make peace with it. It’s torn my heart in a way that just won’t heal. I can’t un-see it! Do I really need to know the worst horrors that humanity is capable of in order to sympathize with the victims?
Now, this idea of guarding what goes into our minds is not shocking for Christians. This is part of our faith. Whatever is pure, whatever is right, whatever is of good report… But we also believe in helping those who need it, and not turning our backs on the suffering. So how do you balance it all?
I don’t have the answers. If I did, I wouldn’t have a loop of that TED video going through my head when I try to sleep at night. I CAN’T balance it all. So I err on the side of protecting my heart and mind. I choose the beautiful and the noble and the right.
And the rest? I give to charities who help. That’s the only solution I can come up with. I put my money where my heart breaks, and I pray.