General Observations on Life: Observations on life and suggestions for a Happy Life. The advantages of forgiveness, thankfulness. The ability of family relationships to produce lasting pleasure versus the short pleasures of instant gratification.
When I was quite young, I couldn’t wait until I was ten years old because then my age would show as a double digit instead of a single. The first time I joined a record club, it felt like my free records would never arrive. I just kept thinking about how great it would be to have my own records to play on my sister’s stereo. I was always looking ahead for some great experience I wanted to have like my first kiss, first car, or my first laptop computer.
Other times I would look back with longing for a time in the past. A couple of years ago, while watching a movie from the 1970’s, I suddenly felt sad and trapped because I could never go back to that period of time.
Too often we are either remembering the past with regrets or looking forward to some event in the future. But all we ever have is the present moment.
Someone had a song many years ago that sort of followed this thought when it suggested that we ought to learn to enjoy every moment of our life. I have tried this at times with doing chores like the dishes and mopping floors or some other “unpleasant”task. I remember one time contemplating whether to mop the floor or not. I thought If I wanted to do it, then it might feel like fun. But, if someone told me I had to do it, then I might hate it. The difference in perception seemed to lie within me and not the task. If true, then it would seem I could enjoy whatever activity I was involved in. Why not consider it to be enjoyable. It could make all the difference in how I go through my days.
Life can seem an amazing miracle if I look at it with baby’s eyes. Coming home Friday night, I noticed the trees, empty of leaves just standing there with their limbs outstretched to the sky as if either pleading for sun or rain or the covering of leaves. Each one had it’s own unique stance, like an array of sculptures placed worldwide for the delight of every person on earth who stopped for a moment and enjoyed the view. How pleasant.
So when I am doing chores, I have the freedom to do it any way I choose. When doing dishes I can stack the dishes a certain way or I can reverse how I do them. When cleaning the floors, I can see how many creative ways I can do the work. Maybe I’ll start downstairs, or maybe I’ll start in the upstairs bedroom. Even raking leaves can be a great time, looking at the number of leaves there are and thinking how every one of them was on a tree just a short while ago. Those trees while empty of leaves now, will soon be filled with brand new leaves (today is the first day of Spring). How can such a massive drop of leaves be completely replaced? Where is the machine that produces such a quantity of leaves for the world?
Even visiting someone who is sick can be pleasant. I have seen appropriate humor relieve the most tense situation. Sometimes the other person wants to share deep feelings and worries and even that can be seen as a blessing to that relationship. Last night we watched the movie “Sully,” a movie about the captain of a commercial jet who had to ditch the plane with 155 passengers on board into the Hudson River. What touched me was how fast the emergency people moved out to the slowly sinking plane. They didn’t stop to consider if it would be too cold (it was) or too wet (they were in the water), or a hassle. They just put on their gear and moved out into the middle of the river. Sometimes, sickness or accident can be a motivator for people to come together who might otherwise not.
Each day has it’s own opportunities, rewards and challenges. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 (English Standard Version)