Lately it's been just that kind of bad news. It doesn't directly affect me, but my friends, colleagues, and friends-of-friends are in the cross hairs.
I typically avoid the news because I don't want to hear even more of it, on a larger scale. But now I can't avoid the gym TVs in the morning, blaring the latest catastrophe.
I put in my headphones and try to tune it all out.
Because most of the bad news comes just like this, as something we hear of in passing, something that causes a brief pause in our busy day, we get the mentality of "that could/would never happen to me". Yes, we take a moment to sympathize with our friend, or our nation, possibly even reflecting on our own lives or taking action to help, but in the end we are grateful that our personal circle has dodged a bullet yet again.
I know that I am like most people. I have adopted this mentality in many aspects of my life. I am, in fact, lucky to have great family and friends, and have worked hard to achieve other successes in my life. I have a wonderful life in the grand scheme of things, and I'm sure there are times when I take that for granted.
I go 80 on the highway that has a 75 speed limit. I don't call my mother every day to tell her I love her. I don't laugh at every one of Tim's corny jokes. I reschedule time with a friend because I'm "busy" or tired. I lash out to those around me when I'm stressed.
I'm guilty, like many of us.
But I'm also a realist.
And in between looking towards the future with stars in my eyes, the moments of realism always anchor me back down. They turn off the music in my ears and open my eyes to the world around me. I hear the horror of a shooting in the news. I see the suffering of a family grieving a miscarriage. I feel the pain of a friend's marriage torn apart.
I don't think these things could never happen to me. I don't think my little slice of life is impenetrable. The realist in me knows better.
Life isn't all butterflies and rainbows. And that's scary.
So, what do we do? Do we never get married because we've seen so many end in heartbreak? Do we not have children because something can go wrong? Do we not drive because of the fatal crash we saw on the morning news?
I like to think that we, as people, choose to move forward. I like to think that we continue to remain positive despite the harsh realities of this world, knowing that while there is much sadness, there is also good. So much good.
We don't need to turn and run from the horrible things we hear or experience. We must stop and reflect, stop and help, or simply stop and listen. It's important to acknowledge the bad, to let it know we see it, and that we aren't giving up.
And then we must remember to move forward, in spite of fear. In spite of the bad that will never stop challenging us.
Because the good is worth fighting for.