Our nation is a form of refuge for about 326 million people and it, too, has its price. Our land of many freedoms is currently struggling to regain its footing and to find its missing moral compass. We have to be successful in this because our own citizens continue to pay an awful price for our national place of refuge.
We come home from church to hear about another community’s church blasted by gunfire from yet another disgruntled individual with zero anger-management skills. We turn on TV news at 6:30 a.m. Monday to find out if it’s even safe to leave our house for work or to get ready for a doctor’s appointment. More and more often, it really isn’t safe but we head out anyway. There is little choice.
To say that our LEGAL immigrants are becoming disillusioned with our land of choice barely begins to describe our feelings: disappointment, fear, rage, and a deep sense of disgust. Did we in fact make the wrong decision to come here and stay? Yet, we love this nation with all our hearts, and will fight to keep others from wresting it from us. That doesn’t mean any of what’s happening now is actually new. Those with the money and the power have long swept abuses under the rug.
Those same poor examples of leadership never anticipated social media or its ability to shine powerful flashlights into the dirtiest corners. Nothing is ever hidden for long from the scrutiny of God and He will allow technology to prove His point, that humanity has gone far astray and needs to be reined in and turned around.
Freedom of the Press
Try as you may, you can’t silence the press, even when it’s scurrilous. It would be pleasant to think that all publishers honored the intent of the First Amendment to the Constitution, for the press to be free of government constraint when reporting and commenting on the news, as well as hauling backroom dealings out into the light of day. You can only give the noble and trustworthy the space to publish the truth, whether any of us like what they discover or not.
These days some do invent the news but any journalism graduate will tell you that all began with William Randolph Hearst and his yellow journalism surrounding the 1890s Spanish-American War and false reports from Cuba. But to call a report fake news just because it doesn’t match your views, or makes you squirm, is childish, boorish, and ignorant. Everyone is “sorry” when they get caught but that doesn’t mean they’re remorseful.
Other Forms of Refuge
Other forms of refuge are the religions we choose to join, the places where we work, where we live, and the person we choose to marry. All of these come with the caveat that some of us do not choose. Circumstance may force us into them.
There is safety in a good, kind congregation but sometimes, heavy responsibility, too. We may also endure hearing about other people’s opinions of our lifestyle, being judged for what we cannot do, or having to put up with a class member moaning that “Some people are always whining for help,” when we discuss the need to take care of others. The appropriate response might be, “Your turn’s coming!”
In exchange for a regular paycheck, we often put up with a lot of office politics, backbiting, turf-expanding, ladder-climbing, and outright abuse in many forms. I’ve been blessed for a few years now with excellent managers but some have been anything but. Some former co-workers recently were transferred to the team of a manager-from-hell and their downcast or vacant eyes at regional meetings tell it all.
- Where You Live
It’s more than wonderful to find yourself living in a fairly safe area with good neighbors who care about each household. It’s less than wonderful when neighbors start butting into your life with unwarranted snooping into your property records, unsolicited advice, interference with tradespeople, and flat-out nosiness about your financial situation. Even public records require an ethical reason to look at them, folks. Sorry to disappoint any of you but curiosity and “what if” don’t count as ethical.
In-laws can be a joy or a terror. Ditto for stepchildren. All reveal their true natures sometime after the wedding. As with before the wedding, each partner should retain their own checking account and credit card. It’s miserable trying to open your own accounts after a divorce or widowhood. (Of course, create a joint account for household expenses.) A spouse may show a side we never saw while dating and we can’t change them. We put up with it unless the refuge from the world becomes a danger and then we plan a time to walk away, hopefully into a safer grove of rustling trees.
As long as we remember that every form of refuge has its price, we can get through these times. Maybe we won’t actually thrive on them but we will survive and can shepherd our young ones safely through the tentacles of evil that reach out from all sides.