I think it started with JonBenet Ramsey. Then the Mike Tyson trial. Then OJ made the world go crazy. After a brief market correction due to the Duke Lacrosse Case we moved on. We progressed to even the Balloon boy and various “famous” peoples deaths and rampages. All of a sudden you have the evolution of the 24 news cycle. I heard a comedian say that it’s from having too many “news” channels and nothing to fill them. He concluded, “…back in the day all you had was Walter Cronkite and the CBS evening news saying, ‘The President has been shot. Vietnam. We’ll see you tomorrow.'” Funny, but also quite true.
The really sad thing is that we have devolved into not just a 24 hour news cycle but also a “what can we devour” cycle. Like sharks smelling blood, piranhas devouring a victim, or kids around a broken open pinata, our culture goes into frenzy mode for a solid week or two in outrage and mob mentality driven mania and destroys the latest person who steps out of the accepted line. It’s whoever steps out of the deemed “acceptable PC line” even for a moment (recently or long ago). Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, certainly Mel Gibson, any number of random non famous people who for a moment say the wrong thing, various athletes (and owners), whoever are decimated for two weeks. Then, not caring at all that a person who did or did not actually do something wrong, our media/culture destroys everything about their life for a week or so and then leaves them to wither and die (figuratively but at times almost literally).
On the other side of the same hand, we kind of do the same thing with good causes. When I was in school Guatemala and it’s slums were all the rage. You had starving kids in Ethiopia for a while (thank you Sally Struthers), the Tsunami victims in Indonesia, and then boom…Haiti hit. I often wonder for my friends in overseas mission if they begrudge natural disaster that happen in other parts of the world. Can you imagine, “Oh, there was a typhoon in XYZ? Oh, that totally sucks. All the $$ and volunteer hours from churches are going to be headed that way now. I mean, it’s a shame what happened there and all but…” Sad…but, true?
Well, on the completely other hand is love. It is interesting to me that it follows a very similar pattern. Something tragic happens and everyone is all ’bout it ’bout it. Oh, we share the link, comment on it, get involved, send emails, bake a lasagna, even take the sad person out for a coffee (or at least offer to do so, perhaps a beer). Yet, there is still a need present.
It’s a month, perhaps two, maybe 6, then again a year later. It’s all of the holidays. It’s a birthday. It’s any day. You see, the hurt hasn’t left them. You (and most likely everyone else) have moved on but the hurt remains. Some other crisis has emerged fresh to focus upon. Perhaps it’s all to0 real and hits way too close to home. Other times it’s close but not too too close. It’s just close enough where not only can you help but you feel compelled to help. Good for you if you do stand up and love by meeting a need.
The problem, I have found, is that people operate as if love is a deplete-able resource. It is not. I have found that the more you give the more you have TO give. So here is the opportunity. Think of someone who lost someone or went through something terrible within the past x weeks, months, even years. Send them a note. Give them a call. Take them a lasagna (especially if you did before, that can be your “thing” with them). You could just say to them, “I was thinking/praying about you the other day and just wanted to check in and see how you were feeling.” You don’t even have to talk about what “it” was. They certainly remember. They also remember you loving them back when it happened. To love them again now is extraordinary, and that’s what love is intended to be.