The Police recorded Ghost In the Machine* in 1981, a release that’s probably best known for Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic. Everybody knows that danceable hit.
But that’s not the song that popped into my mind this week; this week that has seen more pandemonium than magic. My mind went to the sixth track, the one buried in the middle; the one that begins with a chaotic mix of noise, brittle, clanging instrumental shrieks and shouts. It swirls and scatters sound all over the place; and that’s what this week has felt like.
Too much information running through my brain / Too much information driving me insane
Night after night, I read the news. I follow links and read what seems to pass for news for too many people; I am stunned by the ridiculous theories and propositions, the excuses and the moral high ground that some claim as they seek to assign blame.
It’s always somebody else’s fault.
Somebody else is the bad guy.
Too much information running through my brain, and I’m looking for answers and talking out loud to the TV, and typing and deleting responses to Facebook posts, and my head hurts.
My heart hurts.
I went to my parents’ house yesterday and said, Let me use your blood pressure cuff. I need to take my blood pressure.
My blood pressure is normal. It’s just my soul; my body is fine.
What’s one person to do in the midst of such pain, surrounded by a deluge of information and misinformation? What do we think when we find ourself wondering where the adults are, the ones that we’ve entrusted with the responsibility of setting the ship right and calling us all to our better selves?
The only answer I find, after a week of this fresh angst, is to set down hard on this narrow road of what I know is true, what lines up with everything that is right about this country and about who we are, as created by One who sets forth possibility and promise for humanity to do good:
There is no one race that is superior to another.
Where there is power, there must be humility.
Oppression of any other person for any reason is wrong, and will do harm to the oppressed and the oppressor.
The loudest screams demanding rights and privilege come from pain, regardless of the side they’re on.
For a week now, I’ve wanted to add my voice to the chaos, to claim a side, to align myself. But the noise paralyzed me, rendered me silent in what seemed like cowardice.
It was not.
Be quick to listen and slow to speak, says the voice of Wisdom; and that is the better way to be. And although nothing I say here is fresh or new, or even carries any weight – although I realize now that I’m just chucking my two cents into the gurgling, rushing, detritus of overwhelming noise and information, for no other reason than to articulate what the events of this week have seared into my skin – sometimes you just know that it’s time to come to grips with what it is you believe, and to begin to figure out what you’re going to do about it.
Because, as it turns out, we are the adults. We’re the ones to set the ships right.
A terrifying thought, all things considered; but in light of everything I’m learning about how a kingdom of justice and mercy can and should be lived out here and now, it is an entirely appropriate thought.
Now, what are we going to do about it?
*I listened to all of Ghost In the Machine, a record I haven’t heard in probably a decade. Ironically, towards the end of the album is the track, ‘One World’. The lyric is specific to the Third World, but oh-how-applicable they are to us here in our United States today:
Before we get our flags unfurled
Whichever one we pick
It’s just a self deluding trick
For all of us
One world is enough
For all of us