There have been times in my life when I have gotten into arguments. No, really, I have. I know you find it hard to believe, but it is true. Nine times out of ten (or maybe eight, at least seven, I know) times it is because of miscommunication. More specifically on the definition of a certain word or phrase that I thought was a “given” meant something different to somebody else. I recall one time my wife and I got in a serious disagreement over the Bible. She said it was an ‘Instruction Manual’, and I corrected her (yep, mistake no.1) and said it was a ‘Guide Line’. When someone says ‘Instruction Manual’ I think of “place screw 15786509 into hole 344476349 and tighten until snug” or some such. You see it names the screw and the hole and tells you what to do with them. A Guide Line is more of “a good way to take connect these two boards with a screw. You may also use a nail or some twine, but the screw is the best way.” Do you see the difference there? It may only be a subtle difference, but there it is. It was enough that the Devil could stick his foot in the door and cause stress and dissention in the ranks. We argued over that particular subject for quite some time, and I had no idea why until much later. We were both saying the same thing, but using different words to accomplish it. The Bible tells you how to handle situations without getting bogged down with the specifics (like names of screws and pegs and what-nots). Now-a-days, with the advent of texting and social media we have to be extremely careful of how we phrase things, lest we give the enemy an opening. We as partakers in social media need to also keep this in mind and not take offense at the first perceived insult. It is really hard to apply the right ‘tone’ to some messages, and sarcasm often doesn’t translate well either (imagine that!) So when you read something you may find offensive, before you fly off the handle and start a three page rant about someone, and then unfriend them, you might stop a moment and try to figure out if what they ‘said’ was actually what they ‘meant’. (And to finish the story about me and my wife arguing, all was well as soon as I admitted I was wrong. There see how easy that was?)
You see it every day. You may even be guilty of it yourself. Some people do it without thinking. Some people just do not care. Being inconsiderate has become a disease that has infected most of the people of America. Our children are being subjected to mass media messages of ‘kill or be killed’, ‘eat or be eaten’, ‘law of the jungle’ type philosophes and it has taken a serious toll on the generations just now coming of age. The attitude that you will not do for someone else unless they can reciprocate is a chink in the armor of America. We used to be a nation that, even though we squabbled about our differences we could put aside those differences in order to face a common enemy. But with the current disease of inconsideration blinding us to the evil threats that are sprouting up in our very own front lawn, I am afraid the chink may have become a gaping hole that will allow the spear of our enemies to penetrate to the very heart of our being. Consideration is taught, and if you do not teach your children early, then you do not only yourself a disservice, but the whole of society. If you do not care what happens to your neighbor, brother, or anyone but yourself, why would you care about what happens to your nation? And I have witnessed that same discourteous attitude again and again in young America today. It was Cain that said to God “Am I my brother’s keeper?” after he murdered Able. I ask that same question of America today, and in the same breath I have to answer it. Yes. Yes I am. Regardless of how you look at it, regardless of how you feel about it yes you are. Because there is an old saying that remains true even today; United we stand, divided we fall. So the next time you think your own gains are all that matter, think again.
There is a secret that most anthropologists use in their study of different customs and cultures. That secret is the fact that regardless of how much you try to lessen the impact of your presence on your environment, you still change things just by being there. People will react differently around you. Animals will behave different than they normally would because you are there. Even if you try to hide your presence you are still affecting things around you. Wind has to change course because you are there displacing air. Even light reflects differently because you are there. You can’t change that. What you CAN change is HOW you affect things. You have two options. You can either make a positive or a negative impact. Just by keeping a positive attitude or making an improvement in the surroundings generate waves of the same type of energy all around you. Being negative will do the same, just with the opposite effect. Now some people do not care how their actions change their surroundings, because they make their changes and move on, never having to deal with the results. Some people do not realize they are changing things, and some wear blinders to how much change they cause (and a lot of times it does no good to try to explain it). I figure if I am going to make an impact on my surroundings, I want it to be a positive one. As long as we do that, life can get better for everyone. This is what Jesus was teaching with the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. When you do this, you improve not only your life, but everyone and everything around you. So why not make a positive impact?
I don’t understand the ‘competitive’ nature of people. I have never been very competitive minded. I know that sounds odd coming from someone born and raised in the South, where everyone takes their team spirit to the extremes, but it is true none-the-less. Why? For the simple fact that ‘competitiveness’ is just another way of saying you are trying to be better than someone else, and I have never had that goal in mind. I am not trying to be better than anyone. I want very much to see my friends and family succeed in all of their endeavors (adding the qualifier that they are good and moral endeavors that will help them to better themselves). So when I hear the whispers (shouts in Alabama) of my team is better than yours or other such chants, my eyes usually glaze over and I lose interest very quickly. I have the same problem with video games that only offer deathmatch in the multiplayer side. I really don’t see the enjoyment of pounding your friend over and over again until it causes them to get mad. Where is the fun in that? I enjoy working together with people to solve problems and overcome situations for the betterment of ourselves, but I have found out over the years that I am kind of unique in my mindset, and that most people do not think that way. The way I see it, I have my accomplishments and you have yours. I do not judge my success by comparing the two. I am not writing this to bash anyone, just pondering things at my keyboard. Perhaps competitiveness is a good thing for some people because it motivates them to better themselves, but I choose to find motivation elsewhere.
Has anybody ever seen the movie “The Langoliers”? It was based off of Stephen King’s story. It was about these people in an airplane that slip sideways in time to yesterday, only to find out that yesterday was being ‘erased’ by these creatures. The premise of the story was that there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, there is only today. Time was just ‘now’ and all that happened in the past and all that was yet to happen didn’t exist. I don’t agree with the story on that point, but I do try to live like that. The Bible clearly states that we are not promised tomorrow (Proverbs 27-and to clarify the verse refers to tomorrow in these earthly mortal frames that we inhabit). Life is a fleeting thing, and we need to do all the good that we can while we are here. There is more than enough evil and sorrow in this fallen world, we need to stand fast and be bold in helping our neighbors. Tomorrow we may be gone and it may be our neighbors who are left to save those of our loved ones that come along after us. Just one act of kindness could mean the difference between a strong, joyful life and one lived in darkness and despair. It is never a bad thing to do good.
I’ve always been a little forgetful. It’s usually because my mind is going in twenty different directions at once. No lie, I’ve got five different projects in the works right now. And that’s not counting my paying job. Anyway I proved to myself once again just how forgetful I can be this weekend. I was mad. I usually try to hook up on the net with my son who is out of state. We try to play a game together and just be part of one another’s lives over the great distances between us, but this particular weekend my router was determined not to cooperate. Apparently some of the settings had gotten scrambled (not exactly accurate, but close enough to give you the idea) and it was preventing us from playing. It was the first time me and my son would have been able to play in several weeks, so I was really disappointed. And I said so in no uncertain terms and with a few words I shouldn’t have towards my router. What I had forgotten was the fact that I was lucky to have that router. Late last year a thunderstorm came through and fried my old router, and I didn’t have the money to replace it. My mom just happened to have an old one she wasn’t using. That little fact had slipped my mind as I searched, poked and prodded, changing settings and fuming because it wasn’t working like I wanted it to, when I wanted it to. Forgetting to be thankful for even having it. I finally got it working right (after many a headache), but I still feel bad about having forgotten to be thankful.
Some days when I am thinking about what to write for my blog my mind goes blank, and I have to sit and contemplate matters for a bit. That was what happened today. And it just so happens that I sat there long enough for my computer to think I had left. It displayed a message, “Starting Power Save Mode”, and the screen went dark. I thought to myself “that’s a lot like how we as humans react.” When we aren’t being pushed or motivated by someone else we drop into “Power Save Mode.” Why is that do you think? Sure it’s easy to sit around and do nothing, or to even vegge out watching television. But what are we accomplishing when we do this? . In order to reach a goal you have to keep pushing toward it, and it’s a lot easier to keep a stone rolling than it is to start it back up. A little enjoyment is fine, but when it becomes part of your daily routine then perhaps it’s time to shake things up a little bit. Just like you have to touch the keyboard or ‘shake’ the mouse to wake your computer up out of Power Save Mode. After all, what are you saving it for?