More on Words to live by…
What a fascinating age we live in, this age of instantaneous news from around the globe. There was a time not too long ago when most of our info, our news related to people around us, our family or co-workers, our communities. We knew those people. And it didn’t come or change so fast we couldn’t process it, or do something about it. Now I’m guessing more than ninety percent of what we take in today relates to people we’ve never met and never will. Unfortunately most is bad, even when there really is a lot of good news out there.
Is that a good thing? Seems like more and more I run into people, especially comfortably well-off people, the well-educated, who feel life is getting worse, that things are deteriorating. Hard to dispute since the media incessantly says so. The other day I heard it again, an earful from someone who may or may not fall into the category of comfortably well off.
I was helping at a phone bank to remind people to vote in the upcoming elections this Fall in the U.S. My small effort to be an active participant in this democracy. Most of the time it goes well, but this day I got a very unhappy fellow on the line. Not mean or unpleasant, just very upset and frustrated. From his standpoint the world was truly going to hell in a hand basket, or maybe via smartphone! He’s a veteran I believe of the Vietnam War, loves his country and proud to have served, believes in a good day’s work for a good day’s pay, old-fashioned virtues. But he thinks everyone has forgotten those virtues, especially government officials; that we’re losing everything we worked so hard for, jobs, safety, and honesty. “They promise and then don’t deliver.” He even feels they’re violating the Constitution and ran down a list of illustrations.
Apparently he’s also battling serious illness. I listened quietly, didn’t try to change his mind. But it was obvious much of what he’s upset about doesn’t affect his day-to-day. Like many of us he’s taking in an overdose of media stories and as he said himself, simple guy that he is, with limited education he doesn’t understand the issues in detail. It just all sounds bad.
Thinking about his health issues and really feeling the level of his discontent, I started interjecting that he consider spending a little more time thinking about the good going on right around him, a little less on the national/global issues he can’t control. He might just feel better. They say your mental state affects healing.
He was listening surprisingly, and came around to agreeing with me.
“You know you may have a point.”
“I see what you mean.”
He topped it all off with the story of a nice woman who’d come to his door campaigning for local office, and he liked her! He told her so and said he’d vote for her. She asked if she could put a sign on his lawn and he said he’d be delighted!
And then, the sign never appeared.
Again, “They say they’re going to do something and then don’t keep their word.”
I felt I had to do something, one small thing to make his day. So, I scribbled a note about him to give to one of the coordinators in the office. There were only a handful of people there that day but there was an official looking guy who seemed to be “in charge” so I handed it to him and asked if he would get it to the candidate’s office. He smiled at me and headed to the back of the room. What I didn’t know was the candidate herself was one of those few in that room! Within no time, I saw her walk out the front door to her car, headed for the man’s house.
What are the odds of that happening? Out of lists of random phone numbers I get a guy with a problem and the answer is at my feet!
Living out from Spirit. I felt I knew why I was there that day, a beautiful sunny be-outside-and-play day. But I’m always pondering some spiritual concepts; compassion and generosity were the winners that day.
I don’t know what happened after, don’t need to. My sense of him is that he probably enjoyed the rest of that day. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll vote for her!
What if we all took a siesta everyday from our gadgets and our need to be wired like antennae, to not miss anything? What if we spent more time contemplating words of Spirit, enjoying nature’s gifts from bread to blueberry pie, from freedom to fresh air, and whatever good we’ve received, so far; celebrations with families and friends, but mostly listening and welcoming that inner voice? Believe it or not, whether becalmed or in a huff, our mental atmosphere does impact the globe.
I can only hope that Navy veteran takes that day as a sign, and practices what I suggested, keeping less company with bad news, things he can do little about, and more looking around for evidence of a few things going OK in his life. Maybe, just maybe he’ll be calm enough for an inspiration to come in to help fix one of those issues he’s been stewing about!