Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Improving my attitude

I need to spend some time writing happy thoughts and expressing ideas that make me glad to be alive. Simply, I find it too easy to write about that which bothers me but never enough time talking about the things that are positive in my life. That needs to change.

It’s not that my life is devoid of good things or even funny things to write about, I can name many, for truly I am a blessed man. But my thoughts seem to fade away to that which irks me on a regular basis, so I just start writing. It has been that way for many years and I suppose it is simply my way to vent but it doesn’t have to be.

So much has changed over the last 10 years that writing about it seems like I’m cheating that time. Most appropriate would be some sort of video, but maybe a movie is the way to go, or I could write a book! Who knows, but one thing is for sure, God has changed me so many times over at this point, I can hardly believe I am still the same person. In a way, my old self has finally died and my new self is just starting to breathe. This is essential, really, because who I was, is not who I was meant to be. Even today, I feel that God is not finished with me yet and there will be more pruning that has to take place.

Looking back and realizing how awful I was for so many years, it pains me to think of how I wasted so much time that could have been spent living differently. Instead, I was painfully selfish, unabashedly arrogant and shamefully cruel and condescending to many, including my own family. My outlook was simply to live for myself and no one else. Thankfully, much of that began to change about 16 years ago and especially in the last 10, like I mentioned above. I believe that the dominating force behind this change is God’s Spirit within me, but even more specifically I believe that the brevity of this life has started to sink in. To say we take much for granted is quite possibly the understatement of all lifetimes.

More than living as if we could go on forever and even more than living as if we are the center of the universe, it seems fascinating to me to think that the majority of all humans will be forgotten in a matter of weeks following their death. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be memories and pictures and accomplishments and such, but after a couple of generations, even those fade and disappear or are eclipsed. The truth is that we live like we’ll go on forever but that just isn’t the case. I know, I know, get back to happy thoughts.

But seriously, this life is silly with all its pretense. Even the most anti religious people I know agree that we live this life all wrong. There has to be some point to it and yet we seem bent on missing that point for all eternity. I am convinced that if we took our eyes off of our own needs for just a few minutes each day and instead turned our eyes to the needs of those closest to us, this world would change dramatically overnight. We would stop living lives full of indulgence and greed and instead we would live specifically to please others. And maybe pleasing others isn’t exactly the verbiage I was looking for, maybe it’s more about serving others, or simply filling a basic need in someone’s life. I want to believe with all my heart that God created us to live this way for each other but somewhere along the way we got it wrong. Somewhere we decided that this life was meant to be lived for ourselves only and if there was any shred of time and love left at the end of the day, we might pass it along to one or two people.

And so, this is what I think about regularly. I want nothing more than to meet people where they are and help meet a basic need. Even if that need at that moment is simply to laugh or to smile. Maybe they need a hug or a high five, who knows, but it has to start with turning our eyes away from the mirror and out into the world. And here’s where it gets good; when we turn our attention to meeting the basic needs of those around us, our lives get better. Don’t believe me? Try it, just once, and let me know how it goes.

This world is literally dying around us, filled with people who want nothing more than to please themselves. At the end of the day, we have a society of sick men and women who are broken, hurting, depressed, chemically imbalanced and rotting from the inside out.

You have a few choices which can and certainly will include a) fending for yourself or b) paying someone else to care for those around you who have needs. Or c) you could jump in and do something yourself. The first choice leads you to isolation. The second leads you to believe you are above such thing, that’s why you pay someone else to do it. The last option will not only improve the lives of those around you but it will dramatically improve yours.

These are the thoughts that make me happy to be alive, knowing that I have a chance to make a difference. I don’t need to be remembered for anything, that would take too much foresight and planning. Instead, I can only hope that by working to make small contributions to those around me, I can help to improve attitudes and outlooks.

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