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’m sure all of us can provide our own examples of things for which we need to give thanks.  I’m going to try to get back into the routine of doing that more and more often.  I need it, for my own mental and spiritual health – and to keep my wife and friends happier.  Nobody likes a wet blanket, and she deserves better than that from me.

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!

Peter

17 comments

  1. Hear hear! You're surrounded by fun and interesting people, too. And we like your silly self. Enjoying the moment and each day you're given MATTERS. Explore new things. Carve a pumpkin. 😉 Spend time on the porch with your darling wife. The evil wins when they consume all of your time and your mind. Don't let them win.

  2. Yes, sir! Somewhere the idea came to me that Heaven is made up only of the things that we have specifically and succinctly THANKED GOD FOR.
    So therefore we ought to get busy focusing on the blessings.
    Milton

  3. Sir,
    My wife does the same for me, every so often… I try so hard to be thankful for the measures I have had the time and opportunity to effect; it's the constant fear that I have overlooked something, or not done enough, that makes me crazy, and tedious company to boot.
    We have small children, and they are in no wise equipped to comprehend what is going on around them, not in any sort of useful way. We try to talk to them frankly, but we are aware that the message will only penetrate so far. I am haunted by the spectre of my children coming to me and asking if there is anything else to eat… so I am driven to store against the bad times that are coming.
    It never seems enough, no matter how much I spend. Each full storage tote nods toward the next empty one.

    I pray before God that we have time to do all that we can, before being overtaken by events.

    Mike in Canada

  4. I make it a point at dinner each night for each of us state something good that happened today, and go through all the things we're grateful for. It's important to my wife and I that we reinforce those things with our two kids.

  5. This may sound really silly and simplistic, but here is a routine I follow that cheers me up and returns me to a state of optimism.
    Yesterday for example, I took my light weights, (barbells) out into the yard, took my shirt off, wearing shorts, I tilt my electric wheelchair back, (I'm paralyzed from the upper chest down) and I lie quietly for a while. The view was spectacular and free, for me and everyone who cares to endulge. The white cottony, billowy clouds drifting by were beautiful, the sun was brilliant and hot when it peeked out from the clouds. The light breeze was gently and comforting. I live in a quiet neighborhood and the silence was soothing as there was no noise to distract my thoughts. The leaves on the trees moved in the breeze adding to the feeling of serenity.

    Then I slowly begin lifting the weights, stretching and exercising the muscles I'm blessed to be able to still control in my arms, shoulders, hands, chest. It hurts slightly, but I push through it, enough to benefit but not enough to do harm. I do this while immersed in my serene surroundings, reminding myself how fortunate I am. And it is all free; the air, the sunshine, the breeze, the clouds, the trees, and the ability to move and exercise.

    I stress the word free, because I have all these things, and the wealthiest person in the world has no more. In fact, truth be known, I may have more because I am aware off the beauty of it all.

  6. As someone who is affected by chronic depression, the biggest single thing that helps is a prayer of gratitude every night as I go to sleep.  The first thing on my list is the roof over my head. The second is that I ate today. The third is that I have the medicine to keep my old ticker working.  Because there was a time when…

    I'm also using the old mental health trick of spending just enough time to be aware of what TPTB are doing, and then I ponder for a few moments what I need to do to mitigate their impact on my lifestyle. Then I move on to more pleasant subjects.  The reality is, as a student of history, there is very little we, the peasant class, can do to stop these a$$holes from their stupidity. 

  7. Peter, I have been reading you for many years.

    You are extremely intelligent.

    I think you have been too consumed with conspiracy theories.

    I think you need to back off from them.

  8. Peter..

    It may sound like an easy answer, but I think it true to respond like this…
    God is bigger than Joe Biden.
    God is bigger than the economy.
    God is bigger than the WEF, or any other group of elites.

    I have often wondered what it would be like to live in an era is which the Mongol hordes came over the horizon.
    Or the Nazi hordes.
    Or the Bubonic plague.
    Or simply one in which 1/3 of children did not live to adulthood… and one in which childbirth was a life-threatening event for your wife.
    Or the Spanish Inquisition.

    The historical record suggests that humans are far tougher than we imagine.
    Ok, people will die…. People die ANYWAY. I have been sitting with my brother who has not known a day’s good health in his life. He is in hospital now, and I have to face the fact that he may never get out of there alive. Life is as merciless as any Gulag ….. but I will see him again in Heaven. Along with my parents, and so many other people that I love.

    It hurts to see people die.
    It hurts to see the things that we value, destroyed.
    It takes courage to endure.
    Pray for courage.

  9. @Unknown at 1.52 pm: I don't think I've been taken in by many conspiracy theories. Too much evidence has come out, dribble by dribble, to prove most of what I've observed is, in fact, correct. Sure, there are way-out-there theories, but I don't subscribe to anything unless I'm sure that there's fire to back up the smoke.

    I guess we'll see, over the next year or two, whether I was right or wrong.

  10. Today I saw two attractive young couples, obviously in love, and glowing with happiness. That made me smile and reflect we human beings are capable of joy and happiness, often while in dire straits. Your post today prompted me to start looking for positive things.

  11. Like so many others, I'm trying to find the Aristotelian Mean between the extremes of a diet of doomsday porn, and the blithe ignorance of normalcy bias on the other end. I want to be aware enough of what's coming at me that I'm not blindsided by events, but I want to refuse the evil powers to have sway over my life. They want us to live in fear, and if they can't have that, they'll settle for depression, because it's paralyzing either way. I have resolved to severely limit my online time in order to deal more directly with real life in my immediate surroundings. And like Judy, I have always practiced a gratitude list to recognize the comfort and luxury we dwell in most of the time.
    As a student of history, I am convinced that for most people in most times, present and past, yes indeed the world IS going to hell in a handbasket. AND IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN.

  12. Greg…
    I’m with you.
    I’m also a history-buff, and I know that it’s not much more than a century ago that people were dying from starvation at 100 times the rate that is happening now. If it has happened before, it can happen again, but it seems less likely.

    PeterG.
    I would not for the world tell you to stop looking for evidence.
    What I would encourage you to do, is TEST your theories. That is how we do science, if we are doing it RIGHT.
    There are two problems with conspiracy theories. The first is that they are almost never true, or at least, true in the sense that they bring utter disaster. The second is that they almost always fail to consider some of the evidence.

    Ask yourself two questions.
    1. What evidence is there that doesn’t fit the conspiracy.
    2. What alternative theories also fit the evidence.

    My “alternative” theory is that humans are capable of hubris and stupidity. These things can cause tough times, but there have been many, many times when we have corrected our course and not descended into utter disaster.

    The peace of the Lord be with you….

  13. Michael…. thankyou.

    All…. I’m reminded of an old cartoon in which the farmer finds his employee is a state of panic.
    “Calm down, Jacky, what’s the matter?”
    “Boss…. see that stick over there, well I thought it was a snake!”
    “Yes, Jacky, but you can see that it isn’t a snake.”
    “No Boss, but the stick I grabbed to kill it with, was!”

  14. I'm 72 ex submarine sailor. I've worked many jobs since and broken multiple bones doing them. The best was being thrown by an Apaloosa going uphill! (Can't happen?) Thrown over his head on my back. Broke T1, 2 and 3, 3 ribs off the right 3, and 1 on T1 on the left. Plus my right collar bone. I was very lucky and recovered enough to live another 20 years! SO FAR! BTW, that wasn't work related. Ex related of course…

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