Having just returned from a summer in Europe, I find myself reattached to my phone. You see, while traipsing about the continent, my phone lacked internet and calling access. The only time I was able to check my email and respond to texts were early in the morning before I left and later in the evening after I returned from the day’s adventures. For a person whose homepage is CNN and who reads NPR and BBC articles more often than actual books, not being able to follow the world’s events was both freeing and suffocating.
It was freeing in the sense that I could focus solely on the people and events around me. I wasn’t constantly uploading statuses to Facebook or posting photos to Instagram. When I talked with someone, I was fully there. When I participated in something, I gave it all my attention. The world was more…. real and within reach. However, it was suffocating in the sense that I felt I was living in this privileged European bubble. While the horrid events were happening in Ferguson, Missouri, I was visiting castles in Denmark. And I’m sad to say, that’s really the only thing I’m aware of that went on in the States. I didn’t even know what was going on in Europe while I was there. I was too busy eating pastries in Prague and other cities.
And now that I’m home, I’m trying my very best to catch up to everything that’s been happening. I feel like an awful feminist and person as I was posting pictures of Europe while people’s human rights were being violated, both in the US and the Middle East. I am trying to become more fully aware.
But like I said, in a way, it was truly freeing to not feel so involved or invested. I wasn’t “burdened” by the terrible news and was able to enjoy my time abroad without heavy thoughts weighing on my mind.
And as I think about this, I imagine this how some people feel when confronting feminist or tough social topics. So many people are so apathetic about politics to the point that they don’t know where politicians stand. So many people have said to me, “who cares about Ordain Women? I’ve got enough on my mind.” And I’ve heard so many statements along the lines of, “Who cares what’s going on in Gaza or in Missouri? I’m not there. Why should I care or be informed?” These people are disconnected. These people are of the motto, Ignorance is bliss. But it’s not bliss. It’s really not.
Why try to catch up on the terrible news that I missed out on in Europe? So I can better empathize with my fellow men and women. So I can have an informed opinion and speak out on topics that matter to me. Even if I am so far away from what’s going on here or abroad, there are people that are close to it. And they matter so I should be informed about what matters to them.
Being connected is the very embodiment of “mourning with those who mourn.” It means we are trying to feel what they feel.
So now, I am repenting of the ignorant bliss I had while in Europe. I need to become reconnected, not only to the bad, but also to the good. To be disconnected from the world is be disconnected from humanity.
“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”