When I was a child the rest of the world was as alien to me as another planet. My parents seldom read a newspaper and we didn’t have television until I was about eight years old. The first national event that really made an impact on my little world was the flight of John Glenn on my birthday in 1962. I watched some of the nightly news reports, but people who lived in other states seemed just as removed from me as people who lived in Europe. What they did and thought and felt wasn’t relevant to anything in my own world.
This week is a reminder that none of us can live our own lives in our “own little world” anymore. From Hurricane Isaac to the Republican Convention to the financial situation in Spain, everything that happens in the world has a ripple effect that eventually reaches us, even if we are in the middle of the Oklahoma prairie. Our families and friends are scattered everywhere and thanks to the internet and other options we are in regular communication with them. Gone are the days when a move to another state or country meant hearing from them once or twice a year at best. And most of us know someone who knows someone who cares deeply about something that is in the news this week. Half the people I know have friends or relatives in the path of the storm. Paul Ryan’s wife has family and connections to our area. And we all know that the finances of every other state and country eventually affect our own, so we should be paying attention to what is happening in Spain. (Besides, we could just substitute California towns in the report and it would read the same.)
Sometimes the evening news makes me dizzy! There is so much happening out there. And although much of it will impact my life, there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it. That can be painfully disturbing, but it doesn’t excuse me from accepting my responsibility as a citizen of the world. There are changes I can make in my own little world and there are changes you can make in yours. The things we do may seem small but the ripple affect works both ways. Our actions can expand exponentially, so we must do our best to stay informed, voice our opinions, vote, contribute to our communities, care for others, and pray.