A twofold something I already knew but that I re-learned this past week:
- During a crisis one turns instinctively and desperately to the internet for news;
- During a crisis the worst thing one can do is turn to the internet for news.
Now, I do want to have some compassion for myself: Last Wednesday was completely insane and I think almost anyone who had access to live or near-live media would have been strongly, perhaps overwhelmingly, tempted to tune in. In that respect I was like everyone else.
But you know what? It did me no good. I got mixed messages, unreliable reports, rapidly changing stories; and I heard repeatedly from fools and knaves. If I had waited a day, or two days, or three, I wouldn’t have had all the emotional upheaval and I wouldn’t have missed anything significant. What possible difference could it make to me to learn about the Capitol Disgrace on Wednesday or on the following Monday (which is my usual news-reading day)? The only answer: None. None at all.
And all this has been going on in the aftermath of a year, a true annus horribilis, in which I also realized that “Everything I care about and have written to defend has crumped, is crumping, will crump.”
All that as prelude. The chief point is this: I received a gift today, in the form of a post by Ian Paul. That post is about the Greek word hypomone (ὑπομονή), which means “patient eudurance,” “the capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty, patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance.” The associated verb, hypomeno (ὑπομένω), means “to stay in a place beyond an expected point of time, remain/stay (behind), while others go away”; “to maintain a belief or course of action in the face of opposition, stand one’s ground, hold out, endure, remain instead of fleeing.”
Love, St. Paul says, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” — panta hypomenei (πάντα ὑπομένει). That’s 1 Corinthians 13:7, and I think I’ll make it my verse for 2021. My prayer for myself is that I will have the patient endurance, this year, to maintain my beliefs, my core commitments, “in the face of opposition”; to stand firm and defend what I care most about “beyond an expected point of time … while others go away.” I declare 2021 The Year of Hypomone.