45. Don’t Get Caught Up In This World

It’s so easy to get caught up in this world,  and all of its problems.    This song,  which I heard Sarah Guthrie sing last year,  was written by her grandfather,  Woody Guthrie.  It reminded me of the troubles of the world.  Some problems of life are inevitable.  We are living here, for the time being,  and have to find a way to get money and have a place to live, which usually involves a job of some sort.   Jobs come with people who you must learn to get along with, and office politics,  and doing things you really don’t want to do.  Spouses,  or significant others,  often lead to kids, which lead to schools,  teachers,  and PTA meetings,  and a world in itself.  Spouses and kids often lead to houses in the suburbs,  where rules exist about what color your house can be,  and how many cars you are allowed to have in your driveway, what type of mailbox you are allowed to have, etcetera.   And, you are expected to have kids,  and have kids who behave,  are well-rounded,  play sports,  learn to play an instrument,  and get good grades.  If you don’t,  then you must be doing something wrong.  When it comes time to vote, people expect you to pick a side,  and vote for that side,  and stand up for your side.  You are expected to keep up with the world’s news,  and what country is invading their neighbor,  and who won those elections you voted in,  and which politician has quit,  or been fired,  or done something they shouldn’t have done (hint,  all of them).  While you’re at it,  keep up with the local news and what product was recalled last,  and which school was just locked down, and what the nightly news headlines are.   Which church will you go to?  What religion will you practice?  Whatever one you pick,  you must abide by their teachings.  What is the latest new thing in social media?  Have you logged on and checked your messages today?   You must check your Facebook messages,  and your email every day!   Which new movies are coming out?   What celebrity couple just split up?   On,  and on,  and on,  and on it goes,  it will never stop,  that is what everyone knows.   It’s a wonder we aren’t all mad as a hatter!  No offense to anyone in the millinery industry.

If you don’t keep up with the world and all of its issues,  you are labeled as someone who doesn’t care.  Or if you don’t keep up with the tragedies of the day,  but focus on the good,  you are a Pollyanna, which somehow is a bad thing to be according to the general population.

Life makes it hard to believe how there could be anything else important outside of this world,  let alone remember that is so.   Unless we receive a reminder.  I received one the other day.  My grandfather stopped by to say,  Hi.   That wouldn’t be such a big deal,  except that he died years ago.  I was up late one evening,  as usual,  and noticed my clock chimed twelve times at eleven – thirty.   I looked at the picture of my grandfather sitting on the table next to me and thought to myself,  “Grandpa, can you fix your clock,  it’s messed up again”.  The mantel clock I have that my grandfather made,  has the unusual ability to set itself right whenever I forget to have someone wind it for me.  I kind of just assume that my grandfather fixes it for me,  because clocks don’t just reset themselves.  But,  I hadn’t forgotten to have it wound this time.

Well,  later that night, I was lying in bed and it occurred to me, that maybe there was nothing wrong with the clock,  but it was just my grandfather saying,  hello.  Just as I had the thought, I noticed that the power light on the bottom of my TV started flashing off and on.  It did this for several seconds (I have never seen it do that again).  It was as if  my grandfather was trying to say yes,  that’s it,  you got it right,  I’m just saying hello.  If I needed any more convincing,  I also noticed that my mantel clock was back to chiming at the proper time the next day,  without anyone touching it.

Somewhere out there,  is a whole other world where it doesn’t matter if you make enough money,  or what country you want to live in, or the color of your skin.  You will never feel bad,  or too tired to do anything.  You won’t have a care in the world.  You won’t have to do anything you don’t want to do,  and will have fun every day, all day.  Somewhere,  where it’s all good.  I’m in no hurry to get there.  But,  it’s nice to know it’s there,  and a bit of that world is right here with us all the time,  even if we can’t always see it.  Try to remember that,  and watch for the reminders,  they are there for everyone. We just have to slow down enough to notice them.

 

 

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39. Find Something To Believe In

Everyone needs something to believe in.  And, I don’t necessarily mean religion.  Oprah would say it’s the belief in something greater than yourself.  Many Native Americans would say it’s belief in The Great Spirit.   Stephen Hawking found his answers through science and in the cosmos.  People who find themselves living with any serious illness, often find the need to search for answers in how to get through it.  The answers may be different for everyone,  but faith in something bigger than yourself can help you find whatever those answers are for you.

I went to the Methodist church growing up.  It was a wonderful church,  but as I got older,  I wasn’t sure if it was quite the right fit for me.  Years later, my husband and daughters,  and I started attending our local Quaker church,  which felt like a better fit for me.  Then, one day my mother and I were in a book store, and I came across a little book called, Heal Thyself.   I read that book, and loved it.   I then found out that there were many more books by,  White Eagle Publishing    Searching bookstores and eBay, I read as many as I could find.   I discovered that this publishing company was a part of The Church of the White Eagle Lodge , which began in England.  And the rest, as they say, is history.   I had found the perfect fit for me.  I know,  the name sounds a bit, “woo-woo”,  but really it’s just a Spiritualist Church. 

Belief, be it in Christianity, Buddhism, the Wiccan faith,  or whatever fits for you, is a way to help make sense of whatever you are going through,  and the world in general.  Whereas in the past, people were limited to whatever belief was practiced in the town that they lived in, now we have the internet,  and access to beliefs all over the world.  You can go to  websites like Beliefnet,  where believe it or not, you can take a quiz which tells you which religion or belief system most closely matches up with what you believe in.  Don’t laugh!  I took the quiz, and their match ups were spot on.  It’s a great site to explore every belief out there.  When my girls were younger,  for years,  because of my illness, we didn’t make it to church as often as I would have liked.  Then there were many years when we didn’t go at all.   But I still wanted them to be aware of all the different beliefs there were, and wanted them to discover what would be a good match for them.  So,  I used to assign to them projects on some Sundays in loo of attending church.  They would have to pick a religion or belief and research it on the internet, using a few trusted sites,  like Beliefnet,  and write a few paragraphs on it (it seemed like a good idea at the time).  They usually spent less time on their project than they would’ve spent at church, just cutting and pasting instead of writing (they didn’t think it was as much fun as I thought it was… Shocking,  I know!), but I think maybe it helped us all learn a little something.  

Oprah did a seven part TV series on different theologies from all over the world,  simply called, Belief.   It is very interesting.   We may use different words to describe our faith,  but the meaning behind those words, often have a lot in common.  Beliefs can overlap and just because you may be a Christian,  doesn’t mean that you won’t also find yourself following the beliefs of the Buddhist faith,  for example.   Whatever you have found to believe in in your life,  it should bring you peace and joy.  Take some time to explore different faiths.  Even if you are perfectly happy with yours.  You might be surprised with what you learn, and find a new understanding of the people who you share this big blue marble with.