This past weekend I was at a brilliant wedding of beautiful friends, which on this occasion meant staying in a hotel. It seems like many hotel lobbies these days are like airport departure lounges - I counted five television screens, each playing a different "newsish" channel, the noise of the anchors competing with the Muzak coming from the reception desk. A fake gas shortage had been created by local panic buying, so the red strip across the bottom of one of the newsish channel screens read something like FEARFUL DRIVERS RUSH TO BUY GAS.
A pipeline that doesn't actually usually serve this city had broken, the "authorities" had said don't panic, the newsish media had gone into overdrive, so of course a kind of mass hysteria had been unleashed. I saw about 40 cars at one gas station. It wasn't MAD MAX, but it wasn't fun either. It was calm, however, and people were talking with each other. But on the newsish, they were transformed into FEARFUL DRIVERS. Because the news media has, for the most part, not learned how to talk about things with wisdom and humanity, as an entirely unnecessary panic had been created.
You could almost feel an industry caught between the more noble desires of some of its proponents and the belief that fear of scarcity sells advertising realizing that the very thing it likes to lead with was now literally happening - AND THEY HAD CAUSED IT.
The next time I looked up at a screen in this lobby, there was a picture of a tree with burnt orange leaves, and a weather person pointing at it. The caption read VIBRANCE DIMINISHED.
But, friends, here's the thing.
Everything is not terrible.
We live in a world that has shown vast patience with us. We're learning more about how to get along with difference, without harming each other (and we are ignoring the places where we are harming each other perhaps less than ever). We're taking seriously questions about human inclusion, geopolitical interdependence, spiritual integration. We have art. Everything is not terrible. There are burnt orange leaves on the trees (or green ones if you're in Aoteaoroa/New Zealand, or no trees if you're in Iceland, but nice mountains to make up for it). There are burnt orange leaves on the trees, and cycles of change and rebirth and renewal, and everything is not terrible.
There is a better story. We tell it every day, beginning with how we choose to see. I'm inviting you to join us in the conversation we are hosting at The Porch - our magazine will begin publishing in the next few weeks, and subscription information will be available soon. I'll let you know when the website is ready for your lovely reading selves. We'll be seeking to enter into the better story; what we call a slow conversation about beautiful and difficult things. We'll be offering subscriptions to anyone who wants one, regardless of ability to pay. We'd love to have you with us. We'd love you to help us grow a community inspired by lots of good things, including today's thought for the week:
Everything is not terrible. Really.