ERROL CASTENS: Let the generals do without you for a day or two

Come; unglue.

No, not “come unglued” – come; unglue.

As addictive as the war news is, it may be time to come away from it for a day or two, to unglue ourselves from the television and let the generals run the war without our minute-to-minute supervision.

I'm not proposing cutting ourselves off from all news – just that we should ration it and give ourselves time to think about other important things.

Maybe it's time to go for a run in the park, a hike in the woods or a stroll down a quiet country road. Stand and listen to a mockingbird.

It's time to go to a tee-ball game and afterward to take some of the pint-sized players out for a treat. Offer some subtle reassurances, if they care, of just how far the Middle East is from Mississippi.

Take a day off from work (tell your boss I said it's OK) and have a picnic atop Woodall Mountain. Enjoy looking down on Mississippi (literally, not figuratively) and, as long as you're there, pick up some of the trash your less thoughtful predecessors have left behind.

Maybe it's time to visit residents of a nursing home. Pick out a couple of confident, cheerful elders there and learn a little about how you and I can be like them when we grow up. Pick out a grouch, too, and take on the challenge of making him or her smile.

It's time even to muddle in the mundane – to finish replacing shingles and picking up limbs after last week's bad winds. If you have ryegrass or fescue, give the lawn a trim and then luxuriate in the intoxicating perfume of new-mown grass. If not, cut it anyway and sniff the wild onions.

Plant a native butterfly weed (you'll find it also listed as asclepias tuberosa) and wait for a low burst of fiery orange in June and July. Mexican sunflower (tithonia) provides the same color on a much taller plant.

The time we don't spend glued to the TV could be used to write a letter to a military man or woman, whether he or she is overseas or here on the home front. Thank him or her for being willing to be in harm's way for the rest of us, regardless of our political leanings.

Throw a kite into the air and marvel at how a power not of our own doing lifts it upward and at how tenuous is the connection between the kite and the earth. Marvel, here during Lent, that we are lifted up by a Power not of our own doing and that our connection to earthly existence is also tenuous.

While cutting back on the news, maybe we could invest the extra time praying for not just immediate but ultimate peace, too – because when Jesus said, “Thy Kingdom come…,” I don't think He was kidding.

Errol Castens is a Daily Journal staff writer. He can be reached at

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