When I was growing up, my father watched the CBS evening news with Walter Cronkheit religiously. My sister and I never really understood the appeal. And if we were feeling really mischievous, we would call old Walter "Mr. Sickness," since sickness, in German, is pronounced "KRAHNK - hite." I don't think my father was amused.
Now, as an adult, I have a better sense of what drove my father's devotion. I see myself as a member of a broader community – multiple communities, actually – and I want to see how the things I care about are faring in a wider context.
But I still don't pay the kind of daily attention that my father did, perhaps because in so many areas the news is, for me, a cause for anger, frustration, worry, or mourning.
I DO get overwhelmed. I bounce around from trying to keep up with the latest on global warming, to trying to figure out how I'm going to explain to my son that his country doesn't consider his parents married, to wondering why we put up with a healthcare system that leaves millions of Americans scrabbling for any safety net at all.
And all the while, I yearn for prophets and leaders who will call us to live up to our very best selves. While at the same time the lyrics to a song I sang for many years ring in my ears:
We are the ones we've been waiting for.