It started last Friday.
I finally talked myself into going back to CrossFit a month ago. But on Friday, I couldn't finish a very easy workout. I couldn't catch my breath. A hurricane rolled through two weeks ago, and the remnant of the storm that went through Mexico passed through on Thursday and Friday last week. My lungs sometimes get weird after low-pressure systems move through. It is a side effect of the blood clots in my lungs, some of which are still there.
This past Tuesday morning, I got the kids up, to school and then drove up to Atlanta to meet my wife. By the time I got there, she had been poked and prodded and scanned. Every three months she goes through this. She has lung cancer and takes a pill each day that keeps the cancer from growing.
My wife is my best friend. I just want us to grow old together. I look at the ages of the men and women gunned down in Pittsburgh last week, and I want us to reach that age. And then I think of those people and how they all had lives to lead — some of them decades more. It is all so sad.
My wife's lungs and my own remind me that there is so much more to life than politics. This awful tragedy last weekend should remind you all of the same. There is so much more to life than politics. But politics have become so consuming. As we become political animals, we see everyone else that way, too. We see everything that way. Everything becomes politicized. And when our joy becomes politicized, we cannot really enjoy life. Our highs become dependent on the successes of egos in Washington, our lows tied to their failures.
Scripture says we should seek the welfare of the cities in which we are in exile and there we will find our welfare. Unless you live in Washington, you shouldn't be focusing on your welfare there. You won't find it. You'll find a soul-sucking experience that binds you to the politicians there.
We all need to make room for more than politics in our lives. I can assure you that as a gunman opened fire in a synagogue in Pennsylvania, no one cared in that moment about Washington. Life and death were made very real, and the political fortunes of Washington were not part of it. Just think of your loved ones with whom, because of politics, your relationship is fractured. I think I am fortunate in not being in that situation, but I know way too many people who are. If they were to die tomorrow, how would you feel that you or they or both of you let a situation you cannot really control in a city you do not live in fracture a bond you had? This is a choice you and they make. Too many are choosing the easy path of breaking the bond instead of the difficult path of maintaining a bond despite differences.
Life should not be political. We could all be called to our Creator at any moment. And I think when we get there, He is not going to care which politician you cheered for. That's not to say politics is bad. It is to say it has gotten too large in all our lives, and we should not need to witness terrible tragedy to be reminded of that fact.
And it is a fact I have had to learn for myself in the past few years as my wife's health and my own health have had their ups and downs. There's just so much more to life. Life is a beautiful thing. But our politics have gotten so ugly. If the politicians won't call us to our better angels, perhaps we should try it without them.
To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.