I haven’t had much to say here lately- not because I don’t have thoughts and ideas and feelings to express. Ironically, my silence has been due to an overabundance of thoughts and ideas and feelings. I’ve been overwhelmed by much of what is going on in our world. I’ve been ashamed of the actions of some of our so-called leaders. I’ve been dismayed by some of the comments on social media. I’ve been concerned for the safety of friends and family members. I’ve given a lot of thought to what my actions should be in the coming weeks. And I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer. However, the reality is that I’ve also been incredibly happy and at peace about my personal life and health and goals. Sometimes happy people tend to grow complacent and forget to speak up.
One thing that I’ve had to do lately is turn off the rhetoric. So much of the media is aimed at “stirring the pot” and inciting distrust and casting aspersions on others. Yesterday a reporter made the comment that in 1991 the reaction to this week’s scandal would have been very different. I found myself thinking that in 1991 that report and many others we saw this week probably wouldn’t have been shown in their entirety for fear of offending some of the audience. And the commercial shown after the report would definitely NOT have been on the air in 1991. In fact, if it had been shown when I was a teenager it would have been considered pornography. So much has changed about television coverage: what qualifies as “news”, what can be said and done in front of women and children, what is discussed on talk shows. So my television has been tuned to HGTV or cooking or movies or off.
I wake up in pain every morning and I’m in pain throughout the day. I’ve had to accept some limitations and live with the reality that my life is very different from what it was a few years ago. But don’t drag out the tissues just yet. My pain is barely noticeable compared to what it was last year. Those of you who also experience chronic pain- and I know there are thousands of us- will understand what a vast difference there is between a pain level of four and a level of one, which is my current status. So if I have to live with a little pain and the frustration of not always being able to walk when and where I want to, it is just a tiny annoyance compared to the daily challenges faced by those who are truly disabled. I think about that almost every day. I know people who live in a wheelchair, who walk with braces, who are blind, who can’t prepare their own meals or dress themselves. And now we see those in other countries who are injured, displaced, starving. Who am I to complain about a little inconvenience?
There is a daily discussion on FB about making America great again. I’d like to know which year people want to return to and repeat. I’m 66 years old and I can’t remember a time when we weren’t involved in some national problem, scandal, war, revolution, depression, recession, plague, or crime wave. There is nothing new under the sun folks. I can drag out crime stories and racial problems from any year you want to mention. People have been hating and harming each other since Biblical times. There has always been crime. There has always been violence. The only difference now is that people carry a phone in their hand 24/7 so they can hear it, photograph it, and post it to social media. I wish people were as quick to post the GOOD things that happen each day…and thankfully many of my friends continue to do that.
I have to tell you that my life is GREAT compared to my childhood, which represents the living conditions endured by my parents. We never had air conditioning. We often had a wood stove, which meant little or no heat in our bedrooms. I recall living in one house without indoor plumbing and another without hot water. We seldom had a phone. We didn’t have a television until several years after my grandparents bought one. We didn’t have health insurance or the money to visit a doctor. I never saw a dentist. I remember being part of one of the first groups to get the polio vaccine. My point isn’t “I walked two miles in the snow”, but rather we lived our life as it was and were moderately happy. However, I’m also happy to say that each generation of our family has seen an improvement in lifestyle. That’s another reason why America is great and why so many others want to come here to improve their lifestyle.
I’m afraid my thoughts are chaotic this morning, but the main thing I’ve concluded this week is that the future is all about me. No matter what happens in the White House or across the nation or overseas, the only thing I can actually control is what I do in my own home, my own neighborhood, and my own community. I need to be the best Christian, wife, mother, friend and neighbor I can be and take care of my own circle of influence. I need to take care of my business and live my life to the best of my ability, because I can’t live yours.