Eric's Sunday Sermon; Where The Good Stuff Is
Light illuminates the good stuff
Staying the course
The reality of life can sometimes get us down. We can engage in all or nothing speech to ourselves. We say things to ourselves like that my life is lousy and not worth living. We can get engrossed in sensationalized “news” stories and then extrapolate that the whole world is lousy and not worth being a part of. I do not think these thoughts are that abnormal, if they come into our minds for a millisecond and then are quickly done away with with a head shake and a return to the actual rational reality.
In other words if we frame our thoughts to admit that some of life is bad, but other parts are good we can better face actual reality. One day, one circumstance does not mean everything is terrible. Of course let us realize that not everything is wonderful either.
Here is where prayer and meditation are so helpful. If we concentrate on the good things around us then the bad can all but disappear. It is not a Pollyanna proposition it is based on truth. There are in reality beautiful things in this world.
I knew a man who was losing his house in the last recession. He had held a job for twenty years but in the last recession was “laid off” and actually replaced by someone just hired at a minimal pay. I dealt with this man to help lessen and delay the impact of a foreclosure. A wife and two kids. The man stayed upbeat most of the time. When asked how he did that with the walls coming down on him he simply said he chose to concentrate on the generous unemployment checks and the fact that his family was healthy. Both true in reality. Just as the losses were true in reality. He was dealing in reality and not some fantasy or all or nothing concepts. He lost his home but some six years later I understand from another friend that he is employed again and just bought a home and that his family was fine. But the cool thing is, he was fine all along. His focus on the positive got him through tough times without a scar.
A river is constantly flowing with water
Just some soulful music I like to listen to.
The lens of light
Now we have choices. We are wise to keep our options open so that we keep those options. It seems to me that anyone can find the negative to wallow in if they so choose. Perhaps the simple truth is that that is a choice. But we can actually wallow in the positive. Now I did not ask that man what techniques he used in staying positive but by the referral he was an active member of a congregation, so we can assume he prayed.
Life has problems. We must deal with those problems. Some even have a calling to help others with their problems. From volunteering to doctors and lawyers. A school teacher and a nurse come to mind. These people must have a calling to help others. After the day to day sets in we see some with “burn out”. We see doctors and lawyers change to all they are after is the almighty dollar. We see the teacher and the nurse more consumed with the bureaucracy around them than the students and patients. These are the sad cases where somewhere along the line they stopped focusing on the good and started focusing on the bad. Some will even switch professions because they are so unhappy. But alas that will not change a thing if they continue to focus on the negative.
Is it possible that the world is just so made up of bad that it is a false doctrine to focus on the good, because it is really not there? Absolutely not. A flower, a young child, delicious food, the joy of giving from the heart. Sick people really do get well and mothers really do give birth to happy healthy babies. Some couples stay together for 40 years and are still in love. Peace is the rule in society and violence really is the exception – not that you would know that from the news. Many people have deep abiding faith. And still others are happy with no faith. There is much in the world that is good and should be the focus of our attention.
So where is all this good stuff? Right in front of your face if that is what you choose to look for. Whether the world is full of hate and violence or whether it is full of love and peace is up to you to decide. But I tell you this; there are billions of us on earth and there are only a few million caught up in horrible things like war and famine. Oh for sure we should spend some of our time on the tragic and not turn a blind eye to it. But here is the key. If you just focus on the suffering then you are no good to anyone. If you focus on the solution then you can be part of it. Solutions are very good things. So we could both see the same problem only one of us wallows in the misery and the other stands with the solution. Same situation just different approaches. I suggest the solution seeker is a much healthier and happier human being.
Just a place I like to hike
Please listen to the previous. Native American. Then listen to this, ancient Indian. We are more similar than different.
I think that seeing our joined selves is worth being called the good stuff.
So where does all that leave us in our search for the good stuff. I suppose if what you are thinking of when you read “good stuff” is actual things then you may have some issues. The good stuff is found in the moment. That which lasts is found in the deeds of man. Sometimes we are not all bright and shiny and full of desire to do that which is good for its own sake. There is a term that helps us to get through these rough spots, “fake it until you make it”. We just are not designed to be “up” all the time. But if through prayer and meditation and a habit, we can get through the down times and not lose our focus on the good stuff. Easier said than done in many ways. But well worth the effort.
It works a little bit differently in the actual real world. There are people I know that think that if you are smiling you are not serious about what you are doing. They see the smile as you being distracted by something good while you should just be concentrating on the task at hand. Well I got news for those folks. Some of us have a positive outlook on life. We see the good stuff in the task at hand. We can be upbeat and happy no matter what. Does anyone really like grumpy disgruntled people more than happy cheerful people? I suppose there are, misery loves company. Some folks miss the good stuff because they are so focused on the bad. You do not need to live like that. Remember also, we are not machines and don’t get down on yourself if sometimes all you can see is the negative. This too shall pass if you have the engrained notion of looking for the good stuff.
How about a prayer that can be used by anyone.
Oh great creator, create in me a glad heart that sees your good works. Fill me with the wondrous marvels of your creation. Guide me away from the negative. Amen.