One of our daughters broke out in a pretty impressive head to toe rash a few days ago. While the likely culprit appeared to be an allergic reaction, we had helpful sibling suggestions ranging from typhoid to scarlet fever to smallpox. The banter was actually pretty funny (I realize the humor doesn’t translate to print) but only because no one seriously suspected any of the ailments they were proposing. I doubt if the mention of smallpox elicited many smiles a few centuries ago.
Yet, under the surface, while I frequently count my blessings that so many illnesses that struck fear into the lives of our ancestors are either eradicated or mangeable today, I have an uneasy feeling that in other spheres, life is moving, once again, into an era of insecurity, unpleasantness and danger.
So I find myself listening more and more to country music when I’m in the car, and much less to talk radio. Likewise, I’m more inclined to pick up a book while grabbing a snack rather than the newspaper. Because, quite frankly, real life is looking pretty scary right now.
I want to focus on the daily challenges and joys of family, work and friends, and ignore a disturbing feeling that each and every one of us won’t have the option for long of ignoring a world filled with people following an evil doctrine who have in the past and can in the future cause immense suffering with extremely low tech methods and who increasingly have access to incredibly powerful high tech ones. That our involvement is going to go beyond contributing to this political campaign or that one, or having passionate debates with friends, or feeling bad for and giving charity to people living thousands of miles away from us.
But, for today, I need to help some kids get ready for school, spend time working and try to get further down my “to do” list. On goes the country CD, which is probably as effective in warding off danger as a garlic necklace was in warding off infection.