Do you ever ask yourself how much we can really be expected to care about? I don't mean care in a general way, like "That's a shame, I feel for those people." I mean taking an active interest in, enough to read a 500-page book or keep up with daily changes in a situation, such as the recent change of power in Egypt.
I avoided the whole Egypt story. I was pretty sure that there was nothing I could do to change the outcome, and I also believed that I would have to read and watch several different sources to get a reliable picture of why the protesters were angry, who was who, and how it all could affect the surrounding world. That would have taken a lot of my time and attention, which I seem to need every iota of just for my family and immediate community.
Then on my way home this morning I passed my neighbor who shared with me highlights of the excellent book he was reading about how the Native Americans were decimated by the Europeans and their livestock--by the diseases they brought along--in numbers far beyond what we thought. Inwardly I groaned under this weight.
My sister sometimes reminds me, "Ann, my nerves are shot." I echo her refrain. Every week I receive a basketful of requests for help from a long list of organizations who are saving orphans, teaching Christianity, building clean-water wells in dirt villages, or shaking up Congress. Each cause is important. Most of them deserve my support.
But the cumulative effect is one of near paralysis. Do they realize this? Between the international news and the cacophony of cries for aid, one could easily wind up following no story and committing to nothing. Once upon a time, people only knew what was going on in their own feudal village, and that might be all we can properly handle.
If you are feeling as overwhelmed as I do, know that you have company. Just because we can know what's going on all over the world does not mean a human can handle what's happening all over the world or benefit from new details on scandals throughout history.
Ah, and it's almost time for Dr. Phil. Now there's some information I might be able to use . . .
Painting above: Chief Outina by Theodore Morris.