Why Did I Listen to This?

I like podcasts and non-fiction books.  I like Netflix and NPR and lectures on random topics.  I like Chicago Ideas Week and the Chicago Humanities Festival. But even a diet of these activities has become anxiety-provoking.

Why in the world did I listen to this last night on the way home from a meeting? 


It was a beautiful story.  A poignant story.  A sucks-you-in-and-changes-your-life story.  But I deal with those stories every day in real life.

My work – by its nature – boosts my anxiety quotient and so does yours, most likely.  It also boosts my (good) energy levels in that I believe my entering the salad of church conflict, pastoral crisis, missional uncertainty, and personal discernment somehow transforms things for good sometimes.  It’s hard to be present with someone facing a difficult situation but it’s also beautiful.  It’s exhausting to shift institutional cultures but it’s also delicious.

Because all of us consume daily diets of anxiety-enhancers, it occurs to me that I need to go vegan  in terms of my media intake.  What is the media equivalent of green vegetables?

More Kimmy Schmidt and less Claire Underwood?  Maybe.

You know that moment when news reporters warn us that “the following stories may be upsetting to sensitive listeners“?  All of us seem to be more sensitive in these days when we could turn on the TV to catch the weather only to hear that a 30 year old woman who called the police about a robbery was then shot and killed by the police herself.  I wanted an interesting podcast on the drive home last night but I got a tragically interesting one.

How do we stay informed while pacing ourselves?  When I googled “Podcasts That Make People Happy” I got stories about a newborn baby kidnapped from the hospital and crows mourning their dead.  (I assume the baby was found unharmed and the crows found new friends.)  But no thanks.

I actually know the answer already.  I just have to do it.

Image of Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt

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