The old leftist mantra “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” seems to have never been more apt. Even for news junkies like me, there are enough outrageous things happening by the nanosecond in our upside-down world that the weight of it all can start to crush your spirit.
In reality, people throughout the ages have always thought theirs was the worst of times. Honestly, it’s as if mankind lives in a perpetual Babylon, a constant loop of tragedy. And that can start to wear on a person, even an old veteran political and cultural critic like me.
The ceaseless negativity has a way of sneaking into the cracks of your human veneer, tearing at your soul, if you’re not careful. The depravity of man can overwhelm your senses and sometimes even steal from you blessings that lay right before you, if you’re not properly armed.
I’ve always been pretty tough, yet optimistic – a stubbornly content realist, some might say. But recently, all the hate, illogic, and dystopian madness had begun to eat away at me and thieve my happiness and typical godly perspective, and during the Easter season no less.
As a 10-year Protestant now transitioning to Orthodox Christianity, I was undertaking a first-time minimal Lenten fast with my family as a doable way to humble myself before God. This rite was supposed to be a time of heart-felt communion with Jesus and Christian fellowship, just a simple way to soften my heart for Holy Week and ready myself to fully thank Christ for His sacrifice, and the forgiveness, love, and ever-lasting life He offers to believers.
But instead, I was a train wreck this Pascha. I was allowing this fallen world to rule over me, and it started affecting my responsibilities as wife, mom, and home educator. I mean, how can I concentrate on all that when there are so many stupid people running amok? How can I focus on my home when the planet’s brimming with insane evil-doers who want to do my family harm?
I even got even angry with God. How could He allow that bastard Satan to rule so pervasively over so much of humanity? How could He permit the celebration and perpetuation of such abounding wickedness?
How could He let so many people fall prey to the Evil One and his dark schemes, and ignore all the good, beauty, and joy that surrounds us? Funny, I was doing that exact thing. I was embracing fear. I was succumbing to outrage. And I was letting the devil win.
I’m not really sure how it started. The hysterical misandric feminists, anti-white social justice warriors, and blood-thirsty Antifa commies are just enough to make a mama wanna eat her bonbons (well, in my case, drink a pale ale and smoke a cigar), watch funny cat videos, take a nap in the hammock, and be done with all this nonsense. But I’ve never before been scared away from such battles.
Then, just during the first week of April, there was the Muslim lunatic who plowed through the streets of Stockholm, targeting kids specifically, killing four people and injuring 15, and the ISIS bombings at two Christian churches in Egypt that took the lives of 47 on Palm Sunday. Lord have mercy, as the Orthodox like to say.
Around this same time, my husband, who is constantly digging into and researching Orthodoxy, discovered that our beloved new faith tradition is not immune to the left’s ceaseless infiltration into the Church. Now, we do understand that anything comprised of human beings isn’t going to be perfect. We get it.
But one of the reasons we fled Protestantism was because it’s so man-centric and worldly, so presentist and “relevant,” so always caving to ever-changing cultural whims and fluid definitions of sin, so American in its puritanical zeal, contextualized history, and lacking traditions. We saw Orthodoxy and its ancient customs and typically unchanging ways as a counter to at least some of that foolishness.
But being that progressivism is the status quo for most institutions, I shouldn’t have been surprised that cultural Marxism taints Orthodoxy in some quarters, from its global-governmental “charity” initiatives and affiliation with the uber-liberal National Council of Churches, or that leftist interlopers are bound to be within, stirring the pot with their post-modern mania. For the love of all things Holy, is there no refuge from the evils of leftism?
And then when Trump launched missile attacks on Syria, that sent me further into my deep abyss of negativity. As a person who voted for Trump specifically because of his noninterventionist leanings, his bucking of the bipartisan war machine, his penchant for negotiations, and his amicable attitude toward Russia and Syria, I was totally demoralized when I saw this guy, who I thought had a higher probability of keeping us out of WWIII than did Killary, now pounding the war drum.
And all over some crummy pictures and videos. Over some uninvestigated sarin-gas attack, an alleged pro-war silver bullet to pull at the heart strings of useful idiots, a false flag used to avenge the fate of the “beautiful babies,” a con to manipulate us all into another horrid unending conflict and, of course, kill more babies and create more refugees and terrorists in the process. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
I knew Trump would probably eventually sellout to the neocons, but my God, so soon? This is the dude who beat the Clintons and the Bushes, told the mainstream media to go to hell, called NATO “obsolete,” and could’ve cared less about McCain, Graham, and Ryan, yet he completely folds in less than three months?
Is the Washington establishment really that dominant a force? Does the deep state and its entrenched allies in the military-industrial complex and intelligence agencies truly wield that kind of power? Can the imperialists really not be stopped or even slowed down one iota, ever? I felt like a fool for thinking that anyone could be a bulwark against such centralized totalitarianism. Ugh, the futility of it all!
I thought, maybe there is something to the Spirit Cooking after all, for it seems the political psychosis is irresistible once you dwell within the Satanic cesspool of the Beltway, even for a mere 76 days. The realization that Washington is a cult, an unstoppable evil force, indeed a swamp that will never be drained didn’t really surprise me. I suppose it was just the speed at which it devoured Trump on one of his few noteworthy and consistent campaign promises. Pathetic.
Another depressing fact was that the strikes happened to fall on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering WWI – “the primal event” kicking off the 20th century’s status as the bloodiest hundred years in history, and marking America’s ascent to super-power status and subsequent descent to hubristic border reshaper, constant foreign meddler, regime changer, and globalist trouble maker. Just like Woodrow Wilson reneged on his populist assurances of peace and neutrality, so did Trump. So much for “America first.” Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
And to rub even more salt in the wound, the political establishment and media fawning over Trump as somehow instantaneously becoming more “respectable” and “presidential” simply by virtue of bombing a foreign country (and without a declaration of war from Congress to boot) was enough to make this liberty-loving lady lose her lunch. God save us all from Washington war lust, especially neocons who quote the Bible. Gag!
Thankfully, my emotional tailspin eventually began to decelerate. The first thing that brought me some solace was the right’s reaction to Trump’s illegal and immoral acts of war – just stunning in its dramatic divergence from what the left would have done if Killary were in charge under these conditions. We all know there would have either been total silence or mass excuses.
Some notable naysayers were NJ State Senator Mike Doherty, political pundit Ann Coulter, popular YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson, radio talk-show host Michael Savage, alt-media journalist Michael Cernovich, and Brexit-fame politician Nigel Farage. It was refreshingly bold for these folks, all of whom were previously staunch Trump supporters and allies, to be so immediate and loud in their stand against foreign interventionism.
After all this mess, I decided to take a respite from social media and the news for most of Holy Week, as well a hiatus from blogging. I used the opportunity to concentrate my time and energy on the eternal and take a much-needed break from life beyond my home and church. I also centered myself on the gift of a heavenly home, not only because it’s a manifestation of Jesus’ love and grace, but also because it’s an absolutely necessary tool to navigating the lunacy of life on this messed-up planet. I had forgotten that Christ is my refuge.
I can now see that during my struggles, I was surrendering to the Great Deceiver’s lie that defeat is inevitable, that fighting the good fight just isn’t worth it. But it is. And sometimes it takes a person falling on her knees to finally see that we don’t have to carry the unbearable weight of the world.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” — Ephesians 6:11-12
Christ will carry our burdens and fears, if we let Him. And it is only then that we can focus our heads and hearts on the blessings that surround us and maintain our strength to fight for truth and battle against the mob. Jesus isn’t called the “the Rock of Ages” for nothin’.
This also frees us to aptly handle the things over which we may actually have a modicum of control, like raising up our kids right. As Frederick Douglass once wrote, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” So true.
Other realistic goals would include being a loving spouse and a kind neighbor, building upon our own physical and spiritual well-being, and increasing our mental health by giving the rest of it up to God. Keep praying and by utilizing our God-given talents and fulfilling our callings to the best of our abilities, and this will increase the joy in our homes, communities, and beyond. “Prioritize,” as my husband likes to say.
So, I’m not going to let this outrageous world drive me bonkers anymore. I’m sure I’ll have my moments, as we all do. But I’ve got on my armor nice and tight, have my eyes keenly refocused on the big picture, and revel in the freedom that no haters can ever take way. Satan can kiss my ass.