If you listen to the news or watch anything these days on TV, you know the world is going to hell in a hand basket. The economy is continuing the fall, gas prices are sucking the life out of us, and we make a point of stopping at the customer service desk in the grocery store when our roasted chicken rings up $1.50 more than the sign said it should be. Don’t laugh – meat is expensive these days!
And so I sit trolling YouTube for videos of singing dogs and laughing babies and silly kittens and it makes me feel like all is right with the world. Ah… my rose colored glasses. Somehow, some way, it’ll all get better, right?
The pragmatic, risk-averse Thinker side of me wants to just slap me upside the head and scream, “Take off the glasses and face the facts sister!” But the optimistic, futuristic Doer/Talker side of me says Scarlett O’Hara was on to something: I just won’t think about it today. There’s that slim chance that when I wake up tomorrow, things won’t be so bad, or seem so important, or will simply not be a problem. It’s a little bit of denial mixed in with hope.
I’m going to speak up in Scarlett’s defense here and say, sometimes, especially when you don’t have all the details or your personal efforts have no direct bearing on a problem (like gas prices) you have to let it go. Getting ourselves twisted up in knots over the state of the world, or the troubles of a family member, or the instability at work can rob us of the simple pleasure lying all around us.
One pleasant evening this past week, I met a friend and her daughter at a local park for a picnic dinner. There were a few minutes when they went off to look at something and I just laid back on the blanket and looked up through the tree branches to a perfect blue sky. In those few moments, I watched a flock of sparrows fly one direction with their bellies lit yellow by the setting sun, and going the other direction was a flock of monarch butterflies on their way to a resting place for the night. It was a quick escape from the reality of problems swirling in my head, and a reminder of the reality of the world in which I breathe and exist.
So Scarlett, I’m going to do as you do and “think about it tomorrow.” For today, I’ll keep my eyes open for butterflies on my salvia bush, the scent of lowers on the wind, and maybe I’ll find a video with a dog and a baby singing together, because those things are as real, if not more real, than all the other stuff out there.