I have a confession to make: I’m almost to the point where I don’t want to follow the news anymore.
Life can be exhausting in a nation of people who are constantly outraged at something. People seem to be losing a sense of respect for others. Our corporate and political leaders seem to be getting more arrogant, more corrupt, and less willing to actually solve problems.
But in the midst of this frantic, stressful world, I’m thankful for the moments when I can sit down and read a book. I’m especially thankful for writers who help me slow down and stay sane. One of them is Welsh poet R. S. Thomas. ….
Thomas’s poetry offers several ways to stay sane in dark times:
1. We can reconnect with nature
Thomas’s poetry reminds us that despite its flaws, this world is a beautiful place, and life itself is a gift. Thomas paid close attention to the beauty of his land, and his poetry shows an eye for detail.
2. We can focus on the individuals in our local communities, not huge, abstract problems out of our control
Despite his frustration with changes in his world, Thomas was fascinated by the people of his community, and his poetry includes some amazing sketches of individual human beings.
3. We can remember people of the past who have found hope in dark times
Thomas seems to have been deeply afflicted with depression and doubt. And yet he disciplined himself to remember the community of souls who had gone through dark times before, and who had found hope.
Huffstutler is writing about one particular poet, but draws out three core principles for living a healthy life. It’s about this time every four years that I get about as sick as possible from the media maelstrom of the national election season. Obviously this cycle it’s particularly bad. Withdrawing at least mentality but maybe also physically from the scene of this drama can be a healthy response.