crum
Mary Ann Crum

Ever see one of those nature documentaries about freaky-looking creatures that dwell in deep caves or oceans and never see daylight? Some don't have any eyes at all; others have eyes that serve no purpose.

Spending too much time in the dark obviously isn't healthy, and that's why I'm currently trying to achieve a better balance between "light" and "darkness" in my own life.

For me, that means reducing the amount of time I watch TV news programs and listen to talk radio shows, the two things that seem to push me over the line between being responsibly informed and stressfully over-informed.

I've been regularly reading newspapers since I was also reading "Fun with Dick and Jane" in elementary school, and I don't plan to stop. I do like to know what's going on in the world, and, as the old joke goes, it's always good to read the obituaries to make sure my name isn't in there.

However, I've come to realize there's definitely such a thing as knowing too much.

Unlike fictional TV dramas in which some kind of order is usually restored to the universe in 60 minutes, the dark issues hashed and rehashed by TV and radio news pundits go on and on for days, weeks and months, often without any resolution.

I was slowly drowning in a sea of bad news and didn't even know it until I finally asked God to show me why I had a nearly constant sense of heaviness in my heart.

That's when I realized that during this crazy election season, I'd tuned in to more news than ever before in my life. Could there be a correlation between that and the discouragement I was feeling?

I thought it was worth pursuing, so I decided to change my viewing and listening habits. At this writing, I'm about a week into my news-weaning experiment. As I've spent more time focusing on the "light" and less on the "darkness," much of the heaviness has indeed lifted.

I've concluded that while God gives grace to people whose professions require them to constantly deal with the fallout of evil in our world, I'm not sure the rest of us have that grace when we go spelunking into the darkness too often and stay there too long.

The one fruit God told Adam and Eve not to eat in the Garden of Eden was the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God knew we weren't built to handle that knowledge.

Our hearts and minds can only tolerate so much information about the evils of the world without buckling under the weight of it.

Author Beth Moore writes, "There is an enlightening knowledge that builds up and fortifies the human psyche, but there is also darker knowledge that rips it to shreds. There is knowing. And there is knowing too much.

"Because God is complete perfection and immutable holiness, He can handle omniscience. He can know all things -- good and evil -- without responding with sin, weakness, horror or despair. We, on the other hand, don't have that luxury."

Maybe that's why the Apostle Paul instructs us, in Philippians 4:8, to think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise.

Living with our heads in the proverbial sand isn't the answer, but we must spend time every day focusing upon God -- His truth and His character -- to retain hope in what can sometimes seem like a hopeless world.

"For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, "A Giggle Goes a Long Way" and "Live.Learn.Laugh!" She can be reached at maryanncrum@gmail.com.