I don’t know about you, but it kinda feels like 2021 picked up right where 2020 left off. Pandemic rages on, vaccine rollout is slow, political violence in the nation’s capital. I thought 2021 was when we got to put all the insanity behind us. It’s the year when we’re supposed to be able to move on toward something a little more like normal. Or maybe not.
I was thinking about that when I ran across an article posted at the website Mbird.com that raises some of the very same things that have been on my mind. Even though it starts with an Elvis Presley reference, and later name checks Rod Stewart, it’s got some interesting things to say. Here’s how it starts:
“Make the world go away / Just get it off my shoulder.” Elvis sang those lines in 1970 and the refrain has been ringing in my head the last few days.
This is a week, after all, usually spent generating excitement about the new year. Brainstorming, organizing, “casting vision,” setting balls in motion, girding loins, possibly pretending we’re not still wiped from December. It’s hard enough in a “normal” year, but the whiplash this time around just feels insurmountable.
Because the world won’t go away.
And that raises the kind of questions that we like to wrestle with here at PubTheo. Like a simple, How you feeling? Or better yet, this deeper set of questions from the article:
What I mean is, how do you keep engaging with the “world” without coming to hate it? Or without collapsing into cynicism entirely? Because the world breaks your heart. Life breaks your heart. The Church breaks your heart.
That’s putting it lightly. The closer you pay attention, the more you invest of yourself, the more painful it gets.
Read that last line again. The closer you pay attention, the more you invest of yourself, the more painful it gets. That line hits pretty close to home for me. So let’s engage the problem. Given that the world won’t go away, how do we stay engaged and still hold it all together? How do we maintain some sense of optimism, or, if not that, stave off the collapse into cynicism?
The whole article at Mockingbird is well worth reading. So here’s the link one more time. Join us for the virtual conversation tomorrow evening, Jan. 12, starting at 7 pm via Zoom. Click on the link below to be a part of the discussion.