by Adey Wassink
My inner gyroscope broke last week. Though I can’t say it completely caught me by surprise, something has happened to me this election cycle. Caring about the outcome of an election is certainly fine. Voting is a privilege that as a woman I will never take lightly.
But this was different. By last week I found myself inhaling Facebook, which for me meant finding which articles were trending and then reading - all of them. And when I wasn’t on Facebook, I was checking election predictions and breaking news.
My down time, or time when I wasn’t actually in meetings or responding to emails or working on sermons became an obsessive grind.
I was getting increasingly disheartened on multiple levels: the vitriol that can happen so easily on social media, the crazy ways we debase each other, the racism and sexism and every other ism that seems to be spinning out of control.
It was last Thursday that I decided to get off Facebook. Every time I was tempted to see what was trending, I read a psalm. Psalm 1 gave a picture of
a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
Reading the psalm I could feel my breathing slowing down, my body relaxing a bit.
Psalm 2 hit me hard:
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Politics matter. Standing for justice will always be a mission of the gospel. But winding ourselves up into a frenzy until we become the people we judge, until we start saying the things we regret in ways we regret, until we can’t remember what silence or peace or resting in Jesus means, the system wins and has corrupts our souls.
Tom and I find healing in nature. After church on Sunday we headed out to Nevada, rented a car and are driving to meet friends in the Grand Canyon where we will be unplugged for a few days. Not irresponsibly long, but long enough to remember that a day in God's presence is far better than gold, and long enough to remember that God lifts us up on wings like eagles and hides us in the shadow of his wings, and long enough to remember that there will always be corrupt leaders and unfortunately there will always be suffering.
But maybe if you’re like me, taking a break from the craziness will do some good. Make up your own game. Every time you’re tempted to read another article, take 2 minutes of silence. Or every time you want to go on Facebook, read a psalm first, or pray for a friend, or even better, pray for your enemy.
I think I’m now on Psalm 300. Tom and I are traveling South on Highway 93 to Kingman, Arizona. We are surrounded by stark moonscape mountains with sparse dry vegetation, the occasional splash of yellow flowers, orange and pink sunset clouds against a steely aqua sky. I hear Tom singing, “I need you, O I need you. Every hour I need you.” I stop and we sing together.