Welcome! This site is an endeavor to spread an attitude of positive thinking and optimism. By searching for joy and beauty in all things - even the mundane, perhaps a smile will spread from my computer ... to you!

Friday, May 21, 2010

"What's Wrong With The World....and Does It Matter?"

You might have noticed that I've been away from the page for a few weeks...sorry!

Call it Writer's Block if you want, but I really did need some time “away.” Honestly, I've been too engrossed in my own problems, worries and issues to even think about writing something upbeat and positive.

So what brought me back to the page on this particular day? Actually, I've been mulling over the decision to get back into a “semi-healthy” writing habit all week.... it was today's morning news I caught while getting ready to head out that fed my desire to pull out my laptop again. Blasting out at me from the television were the latest efforts to clean up the oil spill in the gulf, mounting financial concerns in Europe (and throughout the entire world), stocks plunging in America, the U.S. unemployment rate back up again, gas prices soaring, and new concerns with the volcano in Iceland. I wondered out loud ...“what is going on?”

Listening to all this, my emotions were assaulted by an over-whelming realization – it's clear that many, many people are NOT happy. Not happy with our leadership, health care, our financial situation(s), environmental issues, communities, the list is huge. And it's not just outside our own back door – our entire global community is suffering. It seems like everyone I know is complaining or hurting in some way. Well, maybe our media makes it seem much worse – it always appears as if there is nothing good to report or talk about in the media these days.

Our parents used to have a saying: “the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.” I used to laugh at this little snippet of pessimism, but I've found myself actually thinking this same sentiment a couple times over the course of the last few months. Now, I certainly don't intend to sugar-coat current events and the impact such things have on us. However, I do know that dwelling within them is not healthy. If we're not willing to look beyond the dark and dismal pictures placed in front of us every day, our communities, our nation, our world will not heal – ever.

My youngest boy who is 17, actually brought up these same feelings and emotions this morning as we drove to school. Talking about the latest impact to the environment in the gulf he said... "man - what's going on, mom? It's like everything is falling apart!" Wow. We forget our kids are noticing this – all of it. We may think these teens are too caught up in their friends, dating, and just having fun, but in reality – they are watching. I agreed with my son – I told him that I, too, had been thinking lately that “the world was going to hell in a hand-basket.” But then I tried to share something with him that would hopefully remind him that there still remains a great deal of good - and good people - in this world, and that bad times won't last forever.

I reminded him that I personally don't believe God “causes” bad things to happen to us and the world, but we are given opportunities to rise above these periods of hardship and pain. What we do, and the decisions we make during those moments of extreme challenge, upheaval, and even unimaginable pain is what ultimately matters. This happens to us as human beings on personal levels, as well as within our local and expanded communities.

Like many other periods in history, we continue to move through the valleys and peaks of light and darkness. For any period of happiness and content we might experience, there is also a time of sadness and pain. It may sound trite, but without enduring upheaval and strife, none of the people who inhabit this earth could possibly understand what peace or contentment mean. Doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor....on a fundamental level, we all know and feel the difference between peace and pain. Though many of us may not have actually experienced these notable periods, the people of earth have survived and overcome terrible odds. The “Great Depression” of the 1930's brought our country to it's knees, while the global economy also suffered immense loss and progress was crippled. World War II had a negative impact on each community, every country of the world in some way – and we were forced to become more aware of our global connection to each other. During each crises, I can only imagine the fear and loss of hope that those who actually lived it might have felt. But people pulled together, learned to rely on one another - sometimes on a global level- and continued to believe and search for the good in the world.

My point is this – we've been there before. And each time our country or world has endured extreme adversity, hatred and even death, we've survived and come back stronger. As individuals, we experience these lowest moments deep within our souls. A former spiritual advisor of mine once referred to our lowest periods of faith as our “desert moments.” Again, it never matters whether you are Protestant, Hindu, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, or any of the numerous faith traditions of the world - we all have experienced and will experience moments where we think our faith has left us, or is tested. But when we rise – and we will – that renewal of strength and faith is stronger than what we might previously have believed.

Pretty big “pill” to swallow, isn't it? That we have to endure these tough times? Having the bad news thrown in your face on a daily basis doesn't help, I know. Whether it's the front page of the local newspaper, the news source on your I-phone, or the 6 o'clock news on television, we just can't escape it. And to top it all off, we're each dealing with our own personal demons, issues and situations.

A key word for today: Believe.

Believe that there are still good people around you, in your hometown, in your state, your country, around the globe. If you have a day where you feel you just haven't witnessed or felt any glimmer of hope or goodness from those you've come in contact with, strengthen your belief by choosing to search out stories of people reaching out beyond themselves, performing random acts of kindness, or love unconditionally.

Believe that the best is yet to come. “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” Current events are exactly what they are – current events. This too shall pass, and another day will dawn.

Believe that you can be anything you want to be. Each of us, by doing one small thing each day CAN make a difference, make a change, have an impact. If everybody thought that it “wasn't worth it” to write a letter to their congressman, or “it doesn't matter” if I donate $1.00 to this charity, or “my presence at this meeting” doesn't matter – we all know that nothing would ever change. Change is a collective effort – the act of complaining about someone else's actions or lack there-of never produces results.

Believe that Angels are among us...and YOU just might be one of them. Take time to notice those around you who have made an impact in your life, and recognize their presence. Remain open to the possibility that even your smile or “hello” could lift the heart of another.

I don't know about you, but I feel better now...

We may not have seen our darkest days on this planet, but I'm confident in the innate goodness of humanity and our common goal to love and be loved. Really, what else matters?

As citizens of such a large planet, we are spread thousands of miles apart with cultures and customs so incredibly different from each other. Yet we are still very much the same - we all feel pain, but we all have a tremendous capacity to love.

Yep, the “world may be going to hell in a hand-basket,” but I am now reminded that my personal worries are just a minute speck of dust in the millions of emotions floating around this world.

A better day IS coming, for all of us –

I Believe

Words and music by Erwin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, Al Stillman

I believe, for every drop of rain that falls,
a flower grows.

I believe that somewhere in the darkest night,
a candle glows.

I believe for everyone who goes astray,
someone will come, to show the way.
I believe, I believe.

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer
will still be heard.

I believe that someone in the great somewhere
hears every word.

Every time I hear a newborn baby cry,
or touch a leaf, or see the sky,
then I know why I believe!

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer,
will still be heard.

I believe that someone in the great somewhere,
hears every word.

Every time I hear a newborn baby cry,
or touch a leaf, or see the sky,
then I know why, I believe!

 Pay it forward - spread a smile!

Photos courtesy of Google images.

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