“Peace be with you, and with your spirit.” We say these words whenever we share the peace of the Lord in church. Until recently, it was one those mindless habits and traditions of the church which we observe, but lately when we share this peace it is with even more meaning and feeling; more than just peace between us as members of the congregation, or in our homes, in that handshake, that hug we pray for peace in the world. World Peace. Two words that invoke such hope. This morning when I woke up I was too afraid to look at my social media feed for fear of what catastrophe occurred as night turned into day. It is a feeling that has haunted me for most of this year, and when I wake up each day, the first question I ask myself is, what will it be today world? From the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille by police in America, to the terrorist attacks in Nice that killed about 85 people, the failed coup in Turkey that claimed 284 lives, society is a fractured mess and peace has eluded us. Most nights I am almost afraid to go to bed, like the men of the night’s watch, I lie awake and listen in silence, afraid of the dangers that lurk in the dark, gripped by fear when I think of the bleak future we are leaving behind for our young. Fear.
Like the ostrich, this morning, I chose to bury my head in the sand hoping to shut out the world and indulge in a past time guilty pleasure- Jerry Springer. Back in the day, this used to be my ultimate escape. Nothing is funnier than seeing Jerry’s guests get up to random mess, of course the drama is always staged, but it entertains and gives some respite from the tension and chaos of everyday life. My favourite part is always Jerry’s parting remarks, he would always find a way to make sense of all the noise and nonsense, his words profound and message hopeful. This segment of the show resonates with me in a particular way and this morning as I listened to Jerry’s words, envisioning the chaos of the world being reenacted by his guests, I hoped that these words would somehow, someway, find its way to the wider world. Maybe we all need a day to watch Jerry Springer and kiki over it, we sure need something soon because 2016 has been one long year of mercury in retrograde, a giant clusterfuck of dark bleak nights and long painful days. Good, when it happens, is overcast like the gloomy grey of the elusive English summer. Maybe this is the darkness before the light, but its about time we had some light, so God if you’re listening, let there be light please. A moment of respite where we are not pushing and pulling, a time to be silent and still, that moment in the middle where the light shines and the chaos abates. Something. Anything.
Strawberries. I picked up a punnet of big, fat, juicy strawberries from the store this morning, a note from the fairies to tell us the British summer has arrived, over the next week at least, and she brings with her that lovely morning light, warm nights short and swift, happiness and the permission to be carefree in fun. Biting into something so sweet embodies everything about the lightness of summer for me, for nothing is sweeter than the berry in season- happy memories of simpler days. I grabbed a bunch of flowers as well, and a cheap bag of donuts- 6 for 60p, its my favourite thing to do on a Sunday, have a donut. Or two. When I retuned home, still avoiding social media, the guilty pleasure binge continued but a classier affair this time- The Hills. I am an avid Hills fan you see, totally team LC, I have watched every episode and know most every story line- that Justin Bobby is a man so great as time has told ;). It kept me further away from social media and whatever breaking news was out there as I slid deeper down the rabbit hole watching the shenanigans of the young and silly. But in between Lauren and Jason 2.0 and Paris, (“Lauren will always be known as the girl who didn’t go to Paris”, true words Lisa Love) I took a peak at my twitter timeline; random shooting Florida that killed two, Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch murdered by her brother in the name of family honour, David Davis rousing fear and panic as he plans to negotiate Brexit, shooting in Baton Rouge that have left three officers dead… the usual.
The usual? This should not be the usual, the world going to shit should not be the usual, we should not be immune to catastrophe, and empathy shouldn’t be so short in supply. What is happening to us? For once I would love to wake up to no news; no breaking news, no trending news, no instant news… just no news. A boring and uneventful day, please. Heck I would kill for the days of yore when a celebrity sex tape was the height of the breaking news. Remember that segment in the Miss World contest when contestants would always have World Peace as one of three answers to that inane question? I’d often roll my eyes at what I thought was an insipid answer, but today, World Peace? I’d take it in a heartbeat.
Until then, in the wise words of Jerry Springer, let us take care of ourselves and each other.
*updated with the correct spelling of Jerry Springer… obviously failed spelling bee- eye roll*