I, like so many others, have to fight tooth and nail for peace, much less, quiet.

For the first time in a very long time I filtered my intake. I didn’t let the headline of what Taylor Swift did at the Grammy’s distract me from the headline about the millions of refugees. I welcomed the inconvenient truth and shunned the irrelevant information. Guess what. It hurt like hell.

I understand why we seek out things that numb our emotions. Why we don’t want to be bothered. Why tragedy is in high supply while diversion is in high demand. I’d rather scroll through Facebook (which we all know is far from fulfilling) than read about the hopelessness of politics. I’d rather spend hours playing a game on my phone than send that text or make eye contact with the other person in line.

We gorge ourselves on anything that doesn’t requires commitment of the heart, mind, or effort. I seek out things to turn on so I can turn myself off. I don’t want to feel compassion, I want to feel comfort. I don’t want to reach out, I want to pig out. I’d rather go on a road trip than an missions trip. I’m not a bad person, I’m one person.

Sure, I don’t mind the blood, sweat, and tears if it means I’ll look better in my clothes (or naked!), but I start to rethink things if it’s for the orphan or the widow.  I’ll ask you if you want to go to dinner with me, but get cold feet if I want to invite you to church. I’ll reveal the contours of my body before the contents of my heart.

There’s so much noise, all Hollywood, no heartbeat. But even in the hurricane, you get glimpses of the destruction when you encounter the eye of the storm. There’s still something telling you “this can’t be all there is”.  And it’s not all there is, it’s where you are.

Of course you can have a laugh, but you also need to have a cry. Each day is not about the avoidance of pain or the accumulation of contentment. It’s then that the smile isn’t as sweet and the memories aren’t as memorable. That’s when life ends. A pulse isn’t the point of it all. Suffering is not the goal, but to be involved is. Simply writing words and confronting emotion, isn’t enough. We need more of enough.

There’s so much noise, but I still need to learn to listen.