Let’s review, shall we?
In the United States national headlines in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had:
a) a conservative media megastar call a young woman a “slut” in a public forum;
b) a liberal media megastar call a conservative, well-known woman politico the c-word (you know the word, the Really Bad One) in a public forum; and
c) a young, unarmed, African-American child gunned down by a grown white (Hispanic?) man for no discernible reason, and the shooter was able to return to his home while the cops turned an apparent blind eye.
And you know what? That’s just the start.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here with the name-calling, the bigotry, the just-plain-meanness. I mean, every week, I share with you thoughts about what’s good about my life over the past seven days, and every week, I wonder if I’m just wasting my time pointing these things out, my tiny online voice barely discernible in this roar of media attention on the ugly behaviour, the discrimination, the extermination that is going on in the world — not just in the country I live in, but everywhere on this planet. It is almost enough for me to completely throw in the towel: why even try look for any good? Turn on any news show, or watch Twitter headlines flash by, and it seems clear that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Seriously, what’s the point?
Why do I even bother?
Well, you know what? I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided that I’m going to continue to bother. And here’s why:
I bother, because every time I notice something in my life that is good, it’s a reminder that the world doesn’t have to be this way.
I bother, because when I make a point of recording my thankfulness, it gives me hope.
I bother, because my practice of being grateful helps me cope when times are rough.
I bother, because every time I’m the recipient of some kindness, I remember that there is beauty in the world.
I bother, because I think that the media is ultimately the business of selling, and sadly, ugly behaviour and disheartening stories sell. But they aren’t the whole story.
I bother, because my young daughter is looking to me for ways to deal with life, and I want her to realize that despite everything, life is very, very good.
I bother, because even if I can’t change the world, I can change my world. And my world isn’t insignificant, dammit.
I bother, because despite it all, for every person exhibiting some bad behaviour that I see in the world, I can identify hundreds of truly good, kind people who are doing good in the world. And I’d like to keep it that way.
I bother, because I’m convinced gratitude, and happiness, and kindness are contagious. And I want to do my part to help make them go viral.
I bother because ultimately, I don’t want to be a part of the problem, but I want to be a part of the solution. I want to be sure that in this desert of ugliness and evil and desperation that keeps getting thrown at us, I can create a small oasis of hope and gratitude, even if that oasis is just big enough to hold myself and my family and anyone else who wants to join me. I bother because gratitude provides me moments of peace and happiness, and I quite nakedly love peace and happiness.
And so I interrupt Bliss Your Heart this week to tell you that I really, truly and sincerely hope that you take a moment — just 30 seconds, even! — to close your eyes and think about what makes you grateful in your life.
Right here, and right now.
And then, I hope you make a habit of taking that moment, as often as you can think about it. Because I want you to create your own oasis of hope and gratitude. Because I want you to bother.
Because your world isn’t insignificant.
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