One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was "not allowing me" to play video games as a kid. My friends all had the original Nintendo, and I was allowed to play at their house, but I wasn't allowed to have one at home.
At some point, that rule went away and my younger brothers got some kind of video game system and had a lot of their birthday parties themed around the games that they would play with their friends. One of my brothers still plays video games with his friends after his wife and kids go to bed.
Growing up not playing video games, I am actually terrible at them. When I played with my brothers and their friends, especially first-person shooter games, I was the easiest kill on the map. I just couldn't figure out how to hit all the buttons in the right order in time to be competitive.
But one thing I remember from playing some of these games was that if you found a part of the level where no one was shooting at you, it was a part of the map that didn't matter.
If you found yourself able to walk around in peace and not have anyone contesting your existence, you were not playing in a part of that world that had anything to do with winning. You could have safety, but you couldn't win there.
That idea has led me to frequently think, "If it doesn't scare you, are you sure that's where you should be spending your time?"
I am not advocating immature adrenaline-junky decision-making. But I am wondering if in our quest to find safety, we've found ourselves focused on things that don't matter. Things that don't challenge the adversaries of this world. Comfort in the 7 more likes on this week's social media post when the world is burning. Comfort in getting into the intermural playoffs when fellow humans are suffering in our communities.
We are so busy with the noise of being alive today that we don't hear the signal of humanity. And that's just the way those committing the worst of the worst actions of the day want it.
Just like Soma in A Brave New World, we're being fed our modern-day version of drugs that allow us to feel nothing about how the world is playing out, and the powers at be love it. The only people who think the world is going well are those who are currently in power or those who are not paying attention.
It is time to Make Room for things that scare us. Hard conversations. A closer look at history. A new way of living with people we disagree with but still finding joy in their humanity.
We've got a whole more to fear than fear itself. And it is time we own that truth.