Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | January 10, 2011

“The World Needs a Rest Tonight”

My soul is sad this morning.  Watching “60 Minutes” last night, reading the morning paper today makes me want to play ostrich, put my head in the sand and not be exposed to any more news from the outside world… and by outside, I mean outside of my own front door.  There is an overwhelming flood of bad news from every corner of the world.  You know the news already.  You know about the horrible drug wars in Mexico, the floods in Australia, the shootings in Arizona, etc. etc. etc.  What you won’t know unless you live in Missoula is that this beautiful, needed and marvelous snow that we’ve had this year in Montana has brought six deaths so far.  A ski area just north of us, Whitefish, has had three people in two weeks die on its slopes, after a whole decade of none.  We lose highway patrolmen here at a rate of at least one a year, a very high proportion for such a small population.  I’m sad.

Some years back, my wonderful brother David wrote a poem about bad news.  I haven’t spoken to him this morning, and don’t have his permission to print his whole poem, but I want to quote part of it.  
Christmas 1978

The world need a rest tonight.
Jonestown,
San Francisco gone mad,
The Middle East wants peace,
But not enough to stop the fight.

The world needs a rest tonight.
Exhausted,
She has lost hope.
We’re all too busy with ourselves
To stop and just one candle light.

More than  thirty years ago.  Bad news before then, bad news after then.  Bad news doesn’t stop, does it?  To protect myself from bad news, I could take a news moratorium, a type of news fast, ostrich myself.  But the bad news will still be there, even if I ignore it.  

So, what to do?  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to have one good, big belly laugh every single day.  I haven’t been very good at keeping that one, so I’ll have to work harder at it.  Laughter is good for the soul, good for the body, good for the brain, and it is very, very contagious.  I can’t laugh at the news, but I can laugh at my goofy new housemates – pets are also good for the soul.

Another of my New Year’s resolutions was to not back-slide in my fitness.  Saturday my walking group friends and I braved the cold for a wonderful six mile walk, during which we enjoyed good conversation, as well as enjoyed watching the elk on the slopes of Mount Jumbo, just above our house.  I came home from that walk simply exuberant with an effervescent feeling of health and goodness.  Who could pass up taking big gulps of such a magic elixir?  

Another of my New Year’s resolutions was to do something good for others each day.  This one is harder to accomplish than I had thought.  Does this include being a nicer driver?  taking care of my own mom? donating old clothes to Goodwill?  I think it does.  I don’t think we have to, all of us, travel to Haiti for two months to work in the camps there.  I do think that if each one of us takes time every day to think of changing someTHING, doing one THING good for others, saying one THING nice about others, our world will be a better place.  

The world needs a rest tonight.  So do you, so do I.  Let’s give ourselves a rest by taking time to light a candle and promise ourselves to make our world better by taking small steps, by changing just one thing for the better, every day.  Thank you, Brother David, for being the balm I needed today.

(NOTE:  to read David’s whole poem, click on the comments… he gave me permission to include it all.)

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Responses

  1. I am so deeply humbled. Please print the entire poem all by itself. I’ll post links to it where I hang out.

  2. Christmas 1978

    The world need a rest tonight.
    Jonestown,
    San Francisco gone mad,
    The Middle East wants peace,
    But not enough to stop the fight.

    The world needs a rest tonight.
    Exhausted,
    She has lost hope.
    We’re all too busy with ourselves
    To stop and just one candle light.

    The world needs a rest tonight–
    A babe?
    What can he do?
    Would we have time to hate and kill
    If we could keep His Star in sight?

    The world needs a rest tonight.
    This year,
    It must begin here
    In our home, our church, our town, our world.
    He gave us peace that WE must give flight.
    by David Ellen, 1978


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