Ashlea's Answer: Mission-Possible

Ashlea White-Davis 

Ethan Hunt, Jim Phelps, Dan Briggs… these guys were all the ones challenged, if they chose to accept it, a mission to save the world. The familiar theme of Mission: Impossible is so very well known, you can probably hum it.

I thought about the overwhelming mission that lies before us in this nation this week. I’m sure there are many offering opinions in pages like these all over the world.

We’ve had a reputation for most of the existence of the United States of being relatively stable at home. That’s not the view or reality anymore. It’s overwhelming, especially for those of us sitting at home or work. I look at my coffee and wonder what we can do. That’s a lot to ask of coffee!

I think our mission now is basic self control. We have free speech still in this country in overwhelming amounts, proven by you reading my words in a newspaper.

I can even say Jesus is the Son of God and this will print. Speaking of Jesus & freedom, Galations 5:13 says “You my brothers and sisters are called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.”

Screens give us an indulgent sense of protection that you just don’t have in person. I’ve read things said to me online that just wouldn’t have happened in real life. I’ve said things, too, that I regret. I don’t know anyone who isn’t guilty of being harsher than necessary with the weapon of a keyboard.

The pandemic has made it worse. It keeps us from sitting across from people and hearing their words in person. Listening to their stories while looking them in the eyes.

We don’t recognize or value the individual humanity as much as we should. We can be a mob, thinking like a mob, about another mob. Mobs are known for bad decision making, among other things. Mob mentality is dangerous.

Back in my first column last year, I suggested turning off the news. I once again affirm that advice. I also think we should step away from social media.

I know you might be arguing (or agreeing), depending your generation. I’m two years older than the oldest millennials.

I am the tail end of Gen X. I’ve been on social media since the MySpace days and things have changed DRASTICALLY. I cannot over emphasize that.

Running to different social media hideouts to yell amongst our echo chambers isn’t helping. Avoiding it altogether isn’t reasonable either. So what do we do?

Self control. I took it off my phone. I know that’s a simple thing, but it stops the casual doom scrolling. It lightens the tension I feel in my body and mind. I’ve found new shows to watch with the family and new crafts to try.

We’re bringing back our game night and looking for opportunities to safely interact and serve others in public. When we talk to each other — lets remember we are ALL created in the image of God.

When we listen to people we disagree with, let’s remind ourselves that we aren’t at war with flesh and blood. This is far bigger than us. How do we know when we have it right? When the fruits of the spirit become more evident: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness,

Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. That last one is a doozy. It’s your mission, if you choose to accept it.

Staff writer Miles Layton can be reached at mlayton@ncweeklies.com