On September Eleventh, like most Americans, I was glued to my television. I watched in horror as planes smashed into the Twin Towers. I gasped as I saw people throw themselves from the high rises to avoid being burned or crushed. I saw wreckage and devastation, death and destruction. And I learned something about myself.
I cannot deal with these images. This was made even more apparent after Hurricane Katrina. Those pictures still haunt me. I can still see school buses up to their roofs in water. My gut still seizes up when I think of those mothers sitting in the heat outside the stadium clutching crying babies who just needed formula and a dry diaper. My mind will never truly be clear of the sight of bodies floating amongst the flood debris.
Images of disasters haunt me. Maybe they haunt you, too. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. But I do know they are not something I can handle seeing. Because of that, and because of the irritation created by listening to adults bicker about the economy, politics, the environment and the like, I no longer watch the news.
This isn't a new development. I haven't really watched the news in years. I will occasionally sit down and catch a few minutes of CNN or Headline News or Fox News while eating lunch, but on a whole, I avoid it.
This means a few things. It means that I don't know when things happen. I didn't know anything about "Balloon Boy" until well after that ordeal was over. I still don't know what Charlie Sheen did (other than his normal drug induced behavior). I never really heard what Mel Gibson had to say about the Jewish nation as a whole. I don't know who Kate Goslin is dating. I don't know when Prince William is getting married (although I do know his fiance's name is Kate Middleton).
But it also means I don't really know what happened in Egypt last month. I'm not sure what's going on with Gaddafi (could we please come to a consensus as to how to spell that man's name?!). I didn't know about the Indian Tsunami for 24+ hours after it hit. I didn't know about this latest volcanic eruption?/earthquake/tsunami in Japan until the next day. I didn't know about the earthquake in Haiti for 2 full days. I knew about the flooding in Nashville because it hit so close to home, but I never really saw photos of the destruction.
I know this means I live in my own self-centered little bubble. I know it makes me appear shallow & uncaring. I am not. I feel for the people living through these horrible nightmares. I pray that God comforts the survivors. I pray that relief comes quickly for those struggling. I pray for the people going to help. I'm thankful that our world can come together so quickly in most situations and people are generous & willing to help their fellow man.
But I still cannot be faced with the images.