the smiling, laughing,
making me comfortable
was it possible
I like to start my day with a newspaper.
Which means today, my day starts online.
I like to go over the Google News headlines WITH tracking turned OFF so I can tell myself that I am getting a overview of the news, not a view tailored to my interests.
Then I click on the Guardian from Manchester, UK. (or is UK now out and GB back in?)
Of late, my outlook on life has been downright dark and gloomy and what I read in the paper or as Will Rodgers said, “All I know is what I read in the papers” and what I read is also downright dark and gloomy.
The other day I was gifted with several stories that, when read in the order I read them, gave me a mental kick in the pants.
As Mr. Lincoln said of General John Pope, who detailed many of this reports “Written from Headquarters in the Saddle” that General Pope “had his headquarters where is hindquarters should have been.”
I have had my head in my butt and all has been doom and gloom.
I am in a funk and I cannot get out.
Waiting to exhale.
Waiting for the shoes to drop.
Just waiting and waiting.
We moved to what is called the Low Country of South Carolina about a year and a half ago.
We found a good church and then we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone to get involved and joined a small group that meets every other week or so.
We are talking our way through the topic of when bad things happen.
We are all pretty much in agreement that while we cannot see the plan, bad things DO happen, but in the end, things work out according to God’s plan and when the time comes to look back, the plan can become a little more evident.
I have no problem with this.
Though it leaves unanswered the unanswerable ‘what do you do or how do you handle yourself in that moment when the bad things are happening.’
Often, knowing that there will come a time when you can look back and see the hidden God given strength that helped you get through the bad things can be pretty thin at the moment.
To boil it down I would say that:
One: Bad things happen.
Two: Things work out as we leave things in God’s hands, or as CS Lewis would say, “It always was in God’s hands.”
Then the third point, Three: this is what you do while bad things are happening.
Notice I did sat what ‘this’ is.
As I said, of late, the news has been pretty bleak and the bad things that are happening has pretty much got me into a semi-permanent funk on the worldly issues of Country, Economy and Civil Strife.
Then I was gifted three stories in a row that responded to these three points about bad things and the current state of affairs.
First, bad things happen.
I read the article, “Americans believe nothing is getting better. Biden feeds that disillusionment” by David Sirota with much nodding and much “Boy HOWDY but that is how I feel.”
Mr. Sirota writes that many people are going through ‘Jokerfication’ – a concept based on the Joker in Batman which describes ‘becoming so thoroughly disillusioned that one loses faith in everything.’
Mr. Sirota then lists the reasons for Jokerfication and I find it hard to argue with any of them.
Thoroughly disillusioned is a marvelous phrase.
There is no light at the end of this tunnel or so it seems.
But to the 2nd point, things will get better and we will be able to see bad times in the rear view mirror.
The next article I came across was “An optimist’s guide to the future: the economist who believes that human ingenuity will save the world” by David Shariatmadari which is a review of the book, The Journey of Humanity by Econmist Oded Galor (who I have never heard of just to be transparent).
Mr. Shariatmadari writes that Mr. Galor’s: “message appears to be that whatever the circumstances you have inherited, change is possible. It’s an analysis of the human condition that leads not to a counsel of despair, but a new set of tools he believes can help build a better future.”
There is much to Mr. Galor’s to try to grasp but I was fascinated by the observation there are two cultures in the history of the world.
Wheat farmers and Rice farmers and society grew up around those two basic fundamental life styles.
I was especially intrigued as I now live what was the focus of rice growing economy in wheat growing North America but for another time.
Mr. Shariatmadari ends his review with, “For many, though, a dose of faith in human progress will be hard to resist.“
And, BOY HOWDY, do identify with that!
SO there we are.
Bad things happen, but there is hope that the future can find answers to these bad things.
SO what about the third point.
What is ‘this is what you do’?
Remember we are talking about a world view here.
The next article I clicked had the headline, “How an encounter with a friendly person made me see myself differently” by Sinéad Stubbins.
Ms. Stubbins related how arriving early for an appointment she and another lady dealt with being locked out of an office.
Ms. Stubbins writes, “Then it struck me. Everything this woman had been doing – the smiling, the laughing, making me feel comfortable when I was doing silly things – I had been doing too. We were mirroring each other’s warmth exactly. Could it be? … She was friendly. Was it possible that I was friendly too?”
Simplistic I know.
But I am repulsed by the feeling of Jokerfication and I want to reject it and if the answer is to be friendly then I will embrace that and let you know how it goes.
Sometimes I need to be told to hang on, it will be okay in the end.
That I read these online stories in a row was seemingly more than chance and I appreciate it.