Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Just do it (what you can)

I was really stuck in my life at one time. Oh, on the surface I wasn't doing so badly. I was married, had a lot of friends, a college degree. But on the inside I was a mess. Thing is I thought I should be able to do the things a married college graduate with lots of friends should do. But the fact of the matter was that the mess I was on the inside wasn't going along with that plan. So yeah, I was stuck, big-time.

So I wasn't out there getting a big job and hauling in big bucks. I wasn't going to be winning any fancy awards. I didn't have what it took to be a hero. About all I knew at that point in my life was that I was going nowhere, and I couldn't see any way out of it.

Then I discovered one single bit of information that changed my life.

Somebody told me that if I couldn't do all the high-falutin' things I wanted to, I should just do what I could. It seems so obvious now, but at the time it was absolutely revolutionary to me.

So if I couldn't get that big job, I could still do the best I could at my crappy little job. If I couldn't be a superstar, I could at least say a kind word to the mailman or smile at the old man waiting for the bus. Everything counted. Even if it was just effort and not results. I started counting days that only had one line in my journal—"Tried hard and failed."—as successes.

Doing what I could has been my motto ever since. It's freeing. It works. Don't worry about what you can't do (and feel you should be able to). Just do what you can.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Are you seeing stars?

No, not in that way. :) In the way of looking up into the sky.

If stars appeared only one night every thousand years, how we would marvel and adore them. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is magical. We're given such a gift and yet 99% of our lives we don't appreciate it. To be born. To live. To experience this earth. Its joys. Its sorrow. Its majesty and squalor. It's all a gift, a magnificent gift. Yet we don't see it.

Perhaps some people see it when they near the end of their lives (or if the end is thrust upon them). Then suddenly they have a keen appreciation of life, of how very precious and magical it is. Otherwise, it's hurry hurry hurry. Hamsters on a hamster wheel.

Sometimes I think about life in terms of technology. Everything man-made requires a power source. It needs to be plugged in or needs a battery. And yet, we don't. We walk around untethered. Yes, life is magical. Want proof there's a God?

Think about your life. Life is God manifested.

And the Emerson quote. How utterly true is that?

I think of people who fly on airplanes. So many of them pull the window shade and play video games on their phones or watch a movie. I wonder what Gallileo or DaVinci or Isaac Newton would've given to go up in a jet, soaring above the clouds, the mountains. They would've been breathless with excitement, with sheer wonder.

And we can be too. If we slow down enough to appreciate this wonderful, magical thing we are so privileged to experience, this thing called life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Is there justice in the world?

Such a heavy topic. Here it is Christmas Eve and I'm thinking about justice. But that's what the holidays do to me—they make me think about things that matter.

Everybody wants fairness. You see it everywhere. People will endure all kinds of problems uncomplainingly but when something happens that violates their sense of fairness they explode. "That's unfair!" And they'll go to the ends of the earth to pursue getting justice as "a matter of principle."

So just like when your favorite basketball player sinks a game-winning shot at the buzzer and you jump up and throw your arms in the air, you also recoil when something is unfair. It's just hard wired into us.

So is there fairness? Is there justice in the world?

Yes. Only it's often not very apparent. Justice according to what standard? That's a key question. For many people the standard is worldly success—a beautiful spouse, children, wealth. That's as legitimate a standard as any, but it doesn't reflect justice in a deeper sense.

Justice in a deeper sense involves deeper things. Things like integrity to others and one's self. Like how you feel about how you've lived your life. It's about love and respect.

In that deeper sense there's perfect justice in the world. We may not all be equal but in one fundamental aspect we're all the same—we start out in life a certain way and we develop by how we live until we end up who we are. In that sense, justice is in our own hands. How have I lived? Have I done my best? Have I loved? Contributed to the world?

When you get done answering questions like that, you will see that where you're at in your life is perfectly just.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Big god, small problems. Small god, big problems.

All faith is not the same.

There are a million variables that influence it and the effects it has on our lives.

Big god, small problems.

If your god is the omnipotent omnipresent eternal creator of the universe. Well, then it can handle anything you're going through. In fact, anything you're going through is chump change.

Small god, big problems.

Who's your god? Is your god an afterthought? Somebody you pray to when you get around to it? A god who is undependable and only comes through some of the time? I wouldn't pray to a god like that personally. That sounds like a very small god. With that god my problems would seem gigantic.

Of course your problems are the same whether you have a big or small god. It's a question of  what kind of power does your god have to clear them up. And there's a lot of peace knowing you have a big god.