Being upset by the right thing

19 Feb 2017

“The things that upset us,” Bono once said, “too often distract us from the things that should upset us.”

I recognize the truth of this in my own life all too painfully often.

I can get upset if the item I ordered off the internet is late being delivered. I can get pretty angry that British Airways overcharged my son for a checked-in bag and that their terrible customer service makes it nigh on impossible to get the matter resolved.

I can get upset about a perceived slight in an email I receive, or when I hear about the inconsistent behavior of someone I think should know better.

And then I can remain relatively unmoved when I read about the victims of a bomb attack, or the latest famine, or some serious injustice.

Some of the things that upset me may matter – at least a bit. And of course it is human to feel more keenly about things that are close to home than those far away.

Yet I notice within myself the desire to become less concerned about relative triviliaties and more concerned about the issues that touch the lives of other people.

Being upset is not the point - rather claiming the inner compassion to suffer with the suffering of others. Suffering enough to actually do something about it, perhaps, if I can.

So when I next get upset about something that does not really matter, I shall try to use it as a trigger to care more about the things that do.

Thanks, Bono.