What Really Matters
I stop reading the news when I’m experiencing a lot of personal stress. It is so generally disturbing that I can’t take both news and life.
The subject matter includes such horrible information on wars, bombings, weather catastrophes, murders and torture that leaders of sales seminars advise you not to watch it if you want to have a good day selling.
In addition there is excessive time on the air for news agencies to fill, not to mention the normal – but bizarre – human desire to be over-stimulated, to experience sensational events vicariously, to be voyeurs and peek into others’ lives. Fox News once spent a whole evening on the death of Anna Nicole Smith. I haven’t really watched it since. If I want news, I try to find news.
I’m very curious about human behavior, so I find some bizarre individual reality shows fascinating.
How did someone get to weigh 700 pounds? How could a person be a hoarder?
Why would a person bring one rabbit into his home and allow it to start a story that ends with animal control arriving to remove more than one hundred of the critters, freely procreating and pooping all over the place?
How could a person such as Muammar Gadhafi, or even Adolph Hitler, both of whom appear to be seriously mentally ill, be actually allowed to run countries?
The human thought and behavior aspects of these stories are a great source of wonder to me. I might have even watched one special on Anna Nicole.
In the midst of my stress-induced news blackout, which actually means I pay only enough attention to have a general idea of what’s going on, but watch no pictures and learn few details, I arrived in North Florida for Spring break with four grandchildren. What could be better?
So far, there have been lots of hugs. (I’ve been storing them up.) At baggage claim, the littlest one, a beautiful, delicate, tough as nails little girl said, grinning in her excitement to see her cousins, “Nana, I can feel my heart beating.”
We haven’t done all that much, really. We’ve been shopping for new stuff for their rooms (“un birthday” treats). We’ve cleaned up the yard for a very overworked dad. We’ve been ice skating. Yes, I went, and I did let go of the wall, but even the littlest one skated too fast for me to hold her hand for long.
We’ll visit the Calhoun County Fair, and have an “un birthday” dinner of steak, French fries and ice cream, definitely to include Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Let us all take a moment to get that this is what life is about. This is what we should be fully appreciating and glorying in during every moment it’s not being ripped away by cancer, death, tsunami, earthquake, and gunshots.
It’s here right now, and maybe not tomorrow.
How truly special is it to wake up and see your wife or husband of 40 years still there making coffee for you? How about wacky cracks and big hugs from a 10 year old, or watching an eight year old fly across the ice and do tricks.
How about hugs and kisses, or even you-know-what? How about a warm shower, a good meal, or walking and just having your legs work. How about opening your computer and writing a column, or a book? Building a deck? Having the money to pay the bills? How about not being in pain for a day?
We go to work. We live our everyday lives. We actually complain about them, get bored, and even dread special events such as Thanksgivings surrounded by loved ones. We should be stretching up to our tip toes every morning, and shouting, “Hallelujah!” that everything is just the same. Think of more than 10,000 Japanese people and their survivors. Today could be the last day.
Kalidasa, the Indian poet, once wrote:
Look to this day
For it is life, the very life of life.
In it’s short span
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence,
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness
And each tomorrow
A vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day.
Such is the salutation to the dawn.
Dance a little two-step today. Hug your best friend, and tell him why you love him.