Is it just me or do you feel like you can’t take one more hit? That your psyche is almost in shreds? That you see the words, ALERT, roll across the bottom of a screen, any screen and your brain squeezes a little, you feel faint and you think, What? Again? Really? Seriously? And like it or not you are riveted, attached to the screen by some invisible string. A string you can’t break, no matter how you try. It’s just there. It’s there whether you have a connection or not. It’s there because it has become, what happens to one of us happens to all of us.
Back in 1957, GE Theater ran an episode, Imp on a Cobweb Leash. I can’t remember the story, if it was a comedy or if it was a drama, I just know that it came with a twist and a moral tag at the end. Very Babbit-like, and not very subtle. They were much better at that in the 50’s, they were willing to say there was right and there was wrong and show the difference between the two.
Originally, I held an image of an imp as mischievous, a wink and a nod prankster, but harmless. Maybe in 1957, but in 2013? No, not so much. When I see the news, this latest being the bombing at the Boston Marathon, I cringe. And, I see that imp, somewhere in that picture, and he’s not harmless or mischievous, he’s vicious. I think of him more like Wormwood, in the Screwtape Letters, he is deadly earnest, serving the Great Father Below. He’s out, trying to take souls.
That imp, be it Wormwood or any of his compatriots, is out to terrorize us all. Sometimes I feel like I can push that imp away, ignore it, maybe it will go away, but it’s that cobweb? That’s tougher. It’s hooked between me and the news scrolling across the screen, incessantly, demanding. Not that immediate posts have value, well, they do, sort of, only because they hold only vestiges of truth, more often it’s speculation and one-up-man-ship, trying to outdo the four million other news outlets. Those posts are pieces of the story, and we’re awaiting the truth, maybe not the whole truth, but some truth, and that takes perseverance, fortitude and time, mostly time.
Now, in the second decade of the twenty first century, the social sharing is hooked to that cobweb, our collective need to share, to post, a recognition of the horror we all feel while gazing at the pictures, the horrid, horrid pictures.
I’m looking to remove that cobweb, no better than remove, destroy it, and that imp. Something that will let me recognize evil in the world and know to pray, not watch, because somehow watching seems impertinent. Something that will comfort me, not scandalize me because I am fearful of what each new imp can do. Something that will reinforce that good will win, no matter what the odds, because my faith tells me that is so.