Does the world reflect what’s in us?

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I’ve been a dedicated newspaper reader ever since I can remember.

Every summer morning (alright, maybe a little closer to afternoon) since I was old enough to read, I would jump out of bed, grab the newspaper and join my grandma on the couch.

Luckily, she had a jump on me by a few hours and had already read through the paper. She would have the sections separated for me so I didn’t have to scramble too much to find my daily reading — the comics page.

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While she worked out the crossword, I would get my day started off right — with laughter.

The “funnies,” as my Grandma Tottie called them, may not have been the most educational section of The Mobile Press-Register, but I left all that “grown up” stuff to Grandma. Plus, I figured, she could use more knowledge for all those crosswords she had to do.

Now, The Press-Register had a black and white funnies page every day, but there was nothing like the Sunday paper. They had multiple pages of comics, and they were all in color.

Garfield, Get Fuzzy, Dilbert, Dennis the Menace — they kept me entertained for a while, reading cover to cover, and stopping to laugh a lot along the way.

Today, I’m still just as committed to my newspaper reading, but it’s not as fun as I remember it being.

I guess I’ve traded places with my Grandma, with the exception of tackling the crossword puzzle, and I’m now reading those “grown up” things myself. Or watching those “grown up” things on TV news . . . or, as my grandma would probably have never dreamed, reading that same news online.

It’s not quite as pleasant as the funnies.

War and murder and destruction often make the headlines. Stock markets crashing and trains crashing and doom and gloom just don’t have the same effect as waking up to Dilbert — who was never the most happy individual but at least he had a pleasant cynicism that made me smile.

My priest said something in church on Sunday that had me thinking a lot about these less than pleasant events, that our actions are a reflection of what is going on in our hearts.

And if all the things that we read, or watch in the media each day are true, then what must be going on in our hearts is a little frightening.

We surely can’t control all the unfortunate events that happen in our world. But, there are plenty of things we can take charge of: how we treat the cashier at the grocery store, whether we lash out in anger when someone pulls out in front of us on the road, the tone we use when someone gets under our skin — all these things, at least, can be controlled.

So let’s take a look inside this week, and see if we can weed out the roots of our negativity.

Let’s do the little part we can in changing some of those gloomy headlines — and who knows, maybe we can free up some newspaper space for a little more of the funnies.

Holli Keaton is news editor of The Messenger. She can be reached via email at