Joy v. Headlines

…target aggressive drivers…beware scammers…police beat…guilty to making pipe bomb…man, 28, shot…2 hurt in 2-vehicle collision…form FBI linguist leak case…police ID infant found dead…immigrant killed walking home…arrest suspect in death of MD man

These are some snippets from headlines from, the website for my local newspaper, The Capital

I tire quickly of reading the news and yet to stay current on local events, it is a necessity.  It’s unfortunate that these are the headlines that jump off the page at me.  Maybe it’s a function of my personality.  Remember, I’m into dark things?  I too easily overlook the other headlines, like the one about the high schooler with cerebral palsy who has a new wheelchair from Johns Hopkins that allows her to get all her things without assistance.  Actually that is the only really positive non-sports story on the front of this page right now.  Actually, I just went to and was assaulted with negative headlines, too.  The only positive ones were essentially advertisements for upcoming or past concerts (Cheap Trick and Jimmy Cliff).

Yesterday on the subway, I watched a man proposition a woman, presumably a stranger, for a variety of sexual acts.  She ignored him, put in headphones, and defeated and loudly swearing, the man walked away.  I sat with my finger hovering over the 911 speed dial on my phone, fuming, furious, and a little more than a little afraid.  I’ve already written a blog about how hard public transportation is on my psyche, despite how it makes me feel better about my carbon footprint.

That’s not the point of this blog.  It’s the opposite of the point.  When the world is so full of mud and oil spills, shouldn’t we be floored by green, the sunshine, the rainbows?  I am rarely floored.

My day yesterday sucked.  For no particular reason and for several reasons.  Seeing the incident on the subway didn’t help, so as I climbed the stairs out of the urine-scented Lexington Market station, I was grinding my teeth, sneering at anyone who looked at me and hunching my shoulders like Quasimodo.  Each step, I was whispering to myself, “God, what am I doing?”  And WHACK!

The sun was cascading down the escalator and reflecting off the brushed aluminum.  Its warmth cut through the cold that my office had left me with and for a split second I didn’t care about how much things sucked because it was beautiful.  I couldn’t smell the urine.  I didn’t see the open-air crack smoking.  I saw God’s glory blanketing it.

I was acutely aware of what I was seeing and made an effort to hold onto it.  I changed my iPod to David Crowder Band, I got to the light rail stop and cracked my liturgy study open.

I held onto it with intention, and it shaped the rest of my day.  I got home and took Ariella for a run (after a brief disciplinary moment).  We were then “just so silly” which is what Ariella calls tickling and jumping on the bed.  We had dinner, watched Jeopardy (she’s gonna be a Trivial Pursuit buff like me), read books and went to bed.  I worked out and watched Glee.

I was emotionally DRAINED from having a bad day, but I wasn’t circling like toilet water headed down the drain.  I was fighting back.  Fighting the world with Joy.

It is so important to escape the headlines.  It is so important to escape the jadedness.  It is SO IMPORTANT to be intentional about seeing glorious, beautiful things.  How many times have I walked right past a flower because I was turning my nose up at the black dots of chewing gum stuck to the brick sidewalk?

I want to encourage you to observe something beautiful.  I promise that within 100 yards of where you are reading this, there is something absolutely awesome.  It could be the way the sun comes through the window.  It could be your child.  Both are absolutely stunning and your response should be joy, a silver lining that dilutes and ultimately destroys the clouds.

Matthew 6:25-34


2 thoughts on “Joy v. Headlines

  1. Oh how I needed this today, Matt. Thank you. In the midst of the chaos of remodeling an entire house, it’s hard to see something beautiful. I’m off to cover my 100 yard perimeter and see how many things I can find. Probably more than I can count.

    1. I guarantee it will be more than you can count. I lost count in my sterile cubicle workplace without getting out of my chair.

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