Stop and smell the flowers along the way...
My wife (God bless her!) isn't afraid to challenge me (lovingly, but firmly) when she thinks I need a wake-up call. She did so last night, pointing out that I'm becoming a "grump", preoccupied with all the negative things going on in the world, but failing to recognize that there's still a lot of good in it, too, if one only looks for it.
I had to admit that she was right. In my focus on the political, economic, cultural and social collapse going on all around us, I'd forgotten that looking down at the problems all the time makes us miserable. If only we remember to look up now and then, we see that the sun is still shining, there are lots of good people all around us, and God and His grace and mercy are still there for us, just as they've always been.
I needed that reminder, and I pass it on to you, dear readers. We've got more than enough to worry about in the world, but that makes it even more important to balance that by looking for the good that's still there. As individuals, we can't do anything about most of the really nasty problems lurking in the shadows. They're too big for us to handle. On the other hand, most of the good things are on a more personal scale, where we can help someone in need and put a smile back on their faces - and on ours, too, because "it is more blessed to give than to receive". We could all do with a blessing now and then.
I'm starting to make mental lists of things I should be thankful for, particularly when I feel depressed or worried about something. Examples:
- Looking at potential future economic woes, where we may not be able to earn a living, I'm going to remind myself to give thanks that today, I can afford what we need. (The Our Father's emphasis on "give us this day our daily bread" means that it's no good asking for tomorrow's bread, or next week's bread - we can ask for that when the time arrives. We live in the now, not the past or the future.)
- Worrying about whether I've made sufficient preparation for hard times? Why not give thanks for the preparations I have been able to make? When I add them up, they're pretty substantial, and I should be more grateful that I was able, by God's grace, to make them.
- On bad pain days, when my injuries make me want to curl up into a ball and hide from the world, I need to remind myself that there are people with the same injuries who aren't walking at all - they've been wheelchair- or bed-bound since they were hurt. I'm pretty well off compared to them.
I'll try to do that on this blog, as well. A bit more brightness and cheerfulness will help to counterbalance the gloom that's sometimes crept in over the past few months. Sorry about that!