We here in the West have it real hard. No wonder so many of us are unhappy, miserable, depressed and angry all the time. I’ve noticed this all the more in the last few months for some reason. We really do have it hard. Just thinking about these things that cause such negative emotions makes me depressed. Not being able to afford that beautiful car that you would just look perfect in, not being able to go to the vacation place of your choice, gas prices, the wrong political party getting elected, the TV writers going on strike, our house not matching, our teeth being crooked, our being a few pounds overweight, our breasts not being big/small enough, our feelings being hurt, our car breaking down, getting butted in front of in the grocery store…you know the real bad stuff…these are all things that plague our culture every single day.
You know what really gets under our nerves. The fall. You know when all the leaves start dropping all over our lawn. Sure it’s beautiful, but they just keep falling and falling and we have to keep bagging and bagging to keep our lawn looking the way it’s supposed to look. We obviously don’t like leafs on our grass because there are bags and bags of it ready to be taken to the compost lining our streets. Budget cuts at our public schools really get us going too, how dare they take from our children’s education. It makes us all want to take our kids out and send them to the catholic schools where the money is a little more abundant (or at least they give that impression). What are some other things that just makes our lives so horrible and depressing? I’m sure you, like me, have lists and lists.
We live in a world of polar opposites. Half the world is starving to death while my side is eating so much its killing them. Half the world can’t afford any sort of transportation while my half complains about car repairs to their third vehicle. Half the world never sees their children grow up because they are dead, my half doesn’t see them grow up because we don’t want to. Half the world is dying to have a job that pays anything and the other half struggles to make it to work on time. Some of us are trying to have plastic surgery to fix our self esteem while some of us try and fix our broken bodies with therapy. Some of us complain about our lawns while others can’t grow enough food on their farm to feed their family. Some of us complain our computers aren’t fast enough while others have never heard of one. Some of us are having unexpected babies while others who desperately want them can’t have them. Life is happening brutally and beautifully everywhere we go.
I can start to see what Paul meant when he said rejoice always, because really there is always something to rejoice about. There is no issue in expressing our sorrow and grief, and there is no issue in expressing happiness and contentment. The issue lies when you get one without the other. With every smile we should remember that there is a frown somewhere else. With every tear we need to remember that there is a laugh elsewhere. To lean heavily on one side is to discredit humanity in others and in ourselves. The same is true for every situation. We have lost our perspective. We live in a world where people fail and succeed, receive and lose all the time. For us to focus on one while forgetting the other is to forget the people around us and to forget the world we live in. Oh the quandaries of the West. The problems we think we have. May we never think that we have it all bad or all good. May we never lose our perspective of the people and the world around us. May we learn to see our lives through the filter of the lives around us instead of the box we like to build around ourselves.