A Little Light in a Dark World
I’ve witnessed some really low moments in humanity this week. I suspect this is part of the challenges of living in a digital culture.
On the one hand, if it weren’t for the Internet and all our digital gadgets, we wouldn’t get to hear David sing “Heaven” halfway across the world. On the other hand, there are other debased, debauched, and utterly disgusting acts I really don’t need to see or hear about, but when you’re on the Internet, you see and hear about them anyways.
It began earlier this week. I was reading through some of my bookmarked blogs and came upon a story of a 14-year-old girl named Amber Cole (I won’t provide any links because I don’t want to inadvertently lead anyone to a site tracking in child pornography). This young girl was coaxed into performing oral sex on her boyfriend in a schoolyard, in broad daylight, while two other boys watched, giggled, recorded the act, and uploaded the video to Twitvid. That such acts are taking place among our youth is bad enough, but then to learn that the video itself became a Twitter TREND within hours… there are just no words.
Imagine that we live in a culture, where enough people shared and watched a video containing child pornography (because that’s what it is when an underage child engages in such acts) to the point where it became a trend.
And as my heart, which was hurting, was gradually healing (and it usually does whenever I pop in my DVD of Glad Christmas Tidings), I later saw on the Internet, and later on TV while I was trying to eat breakfast, recorded videos of even more vile acts, this time of a violent nature.
I’m referring to the videos depicting the gruesome murder of former Libyan leader Qaddafi. Now, I know this man was a dictator who did many oppressive and evil things, but somehow, I can’t get on board with gloating over another person’s death, especially one that was done so horrifically and with the intention of humiliation. I witnessed a LYNCHING, and this time, my stomach, not my heart, was hurting.
As someone who has been fortunate enough not to live under an oppressive regime, I can say that I really don’t know what it’s like to want to hurt another human being in such a vile manner, but I don’t derive any pleasure from seeing someone die so horribly. I can empathize with those who’ve experienced such terrible pain that they’ve wished death and terrible punishment on those who caused the pain. But I can’t gloat, I can’t laugh, I can’t feel justice, I just can’t.
And so, having learned (or witnessed) the existence of such videos, I feel like someone who’s been demeaned. I feel like someone who’s been flashed by somebody’s unflattering private parts.
I just feel so icky.
Because I’m learning that our digital culture has produced shameless individuals who think it’s appropriate to record other people’s humiliation, and equally shameless voyeurs who get off on that humiliation.
Last night, when I went into my kitchen, the lights suddenly went out. And it’s like that feeling. Where you’re used to having light, and suddenly the light bulb goes out.
This week, it’s like the light bulb went out around the world for me. It’s like waking up to a whole new Dark Ages or something, where civilization is so far off in the distance.
So, when I think of the larger context that is our culture and our world, it makes sense to me why someone of David’s sensibilities would be hesitant to grasp at the brass ring of success. Look at the state of pop music. There are no values – not socially, morally, or even musically.
How do you keep your little light shining in such a dark world?
And So it Goes. I had to replay David’s rendition today. I remember when David sang this song on Idol, I was so moved. Scratch that, I was haunted in an uncanny way. It was this song that set me on my O.D.D. obsessions. It was this song I clinged to when the negativity in the press intensified against him.
Listening to the Voice telling us, “and you can have this heart to break,” reminds me of the power to love. No matter how dark the world gets, no matter how much there are others who will make your heart heart, you just can’t stop loving, and you can’t stop giving your heart to others.
I’m a David fan because my idol reminds me of this lesson regularly: that a little light makes all the difference in a dark, dark world.
It’s something I’ll need to remember as the world gets a little darker each day. As long as you’ve got a light bulb to replace the burned out one.
Darkness is always threatened by light, isn’t it?