Thursday, December 25, 2014

Easy Does It

     For the first time in over twenty-five years one of my works appeared in print (not counting reports I prepared for work) when my prior Rock Fever essay was picked up in part by Honolulu Midweek's Metro periodicals supplement for inclusion in its December tenth issue. (See the online version here). There was even a nice mentioned of it on the issue's front cover. Thank you Editor Christine O'Conner! God bless you a hundredfold! 
     In response to this blessing I submitted a poem (something I rarely write) called Point/Counterpoint in which I contrast mostly “Life is tough” quotes with (easy) responses. Here's a sample of one of twelve four-line stanzas plus the closing line:

The system rigged!” (A little contentment)
You should report him!” (A little mercy)
Who'll know the difference?” (A little integrity)
Why even try?” (A little responsibility)

(It doesn't take much to make things better, just a little bit of this and a little bit of that)

     One of the wisest observations/principles I've ever heard (from a pastor) was that how we choose to perceive something, thus shall it be for us, such that if we choose to believe, “Oh, life is so difficult and tough, I don't know how I'll ever manage or endure!” then life will indeed be very difficult and tough.  But if we instead choose to believe “This isn't so bad. I can get through this without too much strain or trouble,” then life will be much easier even if circumstances haven't changed. 
      Age and experience helps with selecting positive perceptions as I've seen with my kids and Braden in particular. When forced to look up a word in the dictionary, he used to get so upset he'd hiss and stomp and veins would bulge out with purplish ridges on his temple and forehead. He's since gotten better but still shows some resentment at times. 
     I myself used to detest fixing our car or taking it in for repairs or dealing with minor household maintenance issues such as dripping showers, malfunctioning toilets, or peeling paint. But years of raising our kids and addressing health issues have led me to conclude that these people-related things are the important “real” issues, not the minor material annoyances, so that when now faced with the latter, I don't get nearly so distressed as I once used to. After all, if a nuisance broken thing hasn't hurt anyone, is affordable to fix, and once repaired can be forgotten, why stress unduly? As life's full of such unavoidable burdens we may as well accept them with quiet aplomb rather than let them ruin our days.
     Based on this simple choice of easy vs difficult, then, I'm saddened that so many choose the latter and its concomitant discontent, unhappiness, jealousy, and anger versus the former with its attendant contentment, trust, perspective, and hope. Even among Christians and pastors I see this lack of faith, understanding, or perception  whenever I hear one confess, “It's tough” over relatively simple matters such as forgiveness, spousal relations, child rearing, work, integrity, or faith. Jesus said His yoke is easy to bear and His burden is light. It's not as if He's asking us to cure all the world's ills, die on a cross, work without food, shelter, or rest non-stop for days on end, or add more hours to each day. To the contrary, based on personal experience, He tends to prompt simple and easy things that lead to rest and fulfillment and provides more than ample time, resources, and energy to do them.
     It's our choice then, easy or difficult? For me, laid back lover of the simple life, the choice is easy.  

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