I believe that “95% of everything is crud.” Actually, I don’t strictly believe that. What I mean to say is that of all the millions and millions of things that exist in this world, clamoring for my attention, only about 5% of it is truly worth my attention. I don’t even know if that “5%” is a hard and fast figure, but the point is that MOST things in the world are not worth my attention.
It’s OKAY for me to not pay attention to everything that tries to grab my attention. It’s OKAY to be selective regarding the thoughts and things I’m going to allow into my mind and into my life. I’ve been alive long enough now to know what appeals to me and what is edifying… and what does not, and what is not.
It’s OKAY to live in a very small world because really, when you come right down to it, we ALL live in our own very small little worlds. Some people drive themselves crazy trying to make their world bigger by greedily taking in more than any one person in one lifetime expects to consume (FOMO). There is no benefit to such gluttony. It’s OKAY to choose what is BEST, and be content with that.
I believe that the world is constantly becoming more and more corrupt. (Sorry, Gene Roddenberry, love your shows, but your underlying premise is faulty.) I believe the general trend of human nature and the physical world leads to decay and corruption. The wise person will every day fight against decay and corruption wherever it’s found, whether in government or a wrinkle on the face. Every day we are all tasked with fighting decay and corruption in this world, even though we know that ultimately the war will not be won—at least not here on this earth. We can have MINI battle victories—like an Honest Man winning an election, or a walking program contributing to a drop in blood pressure—but in the end, eventually, we will all get sick and die. The challenge is to hold it off for as long as possible, to keep decay and corruption at bay as long as possible. We have been tasked not with WINNING the good fight, but with FIGHTING the good fight.
If we are wise, the one area where we will take advantage of our God-given ability to overcome this trend of decay and corruption is in the growth and development of our OWN spirit. The longer we are alive, the more we see and experience and learn. And the world being what it is (decaying, corruption), the more we experience and learn, the greater our tendency to harden our spirit, to become distrustful and cynical.
It may, in fact, be wise to not necessarily trust a lot of what we experience in this world. Go back to my original premise that “95% of everything is crud.” Crud tends to get cruddier as time goes on. Don’t mess with it! Leave it alone! Find what is good, true, honorable, lovely and worth of praise, and let your mind dwell on those things. It might only be 5%. It might even be less than 5%! No matter. Whatever it is, latch on to what is good and let it nourish your soul.
So the other day on the News they’re talking about plastic guns that anyone can create with a 3D printer. Yes, this is the world we now live in. There’s a real possibility we are moving into a future that will look something like the wild, wild West, where virtually everyone is walking about with an undetectable functioning firearm they can whip out whenever someone cuts them in line at the grocery store, or when the boss doesn’t give the expected pay raise. Undetectable guns in schools, businesses, airplanes, etc. We could be heading for total anarchy.
Remember the “Killer Bees”? Years ago, the News tried to scare us with stories of swarms of Killer Bees traveling up from South America and turning our country into a dangerous living hell. It never happened. Not long ago, the Ebola Virus threatened to wipe out half the earth’s population. Before that, AIDS. Before that…you get my point. It’s always something. There’s always some bad thing that might happen, but very often the situation never gets anywhere near as bad as what we’re told to expect.
So, yeah…right now, it’s entirely possible the world is going to hell in a hand basket. On the other hand…maybe not. Yes, it’s possible the US government could slowly (or not so slowly…) be morphed into something more closely resembling Nazi Germany.
The point is: no one has any idea what’s going to happen in the future, and worrying about it doesn’t make it any better. But we all have a responsibility to fight against the decay and corruption we see taking place all around us. That might mean donating to the campaign of an Honest Man, and it definitely means going out to vote for him on Election Day. It means staying aware and not letting yourself get sucked in by the steady decaying drip of nonsense and deception. It means standing up and shouting “I call BS!” when you see BS.
Ultimately though, of course, we are all only responsible for our own actions. Maybe that’s the 5%, or the 1%, or the 1000th of 1% that is most worth our attention. No matter what else is going on in the world, as long as you feel confident that you are doing what is right for yourself and for your world, then…well, maybe that’s all you can do.
I mean, maybe you CAN do more, but that much as least has to be your FOUNDATION. Being right with your God and yourself…that has to be the starting point.
I am right with God. I am right with myself. I vote, I display the campaign yard sign for the Honest Man, and I even contribute to his campaign. I call BS when I see it. I know that 2+2=4, and NOBODY is going to convince me it’s 5. I watch over my soul, and my mind, and try to take care of my body (though admittedly, I could do better at that last one…)
I’ve been alive 60 years. My body is decaying. I try to slow the decay, but in the end, I know, it will give out. However, every day I FIGHT against the BS that tries to bring me down and make my worry about getting shot by a plastic gun yielded by someone who is just as distressed and angry as I am but doesn’t have the self-awareness to come to the conclusion that there is another, better way out of it.
Because there is another way out, and this is the revelation, the epiphany that came to me the other morning, driving to work and listening to the seamless harmonies of Crosby Stills Nash & Young:
Yes, the world sucks. Yes, it is possible we don’t survive this. Yes, it’s possible I’ll be shot by a stranger with a plastic gun for no really good reason. Or die in a nuclear explosion when unstable world leaders go back to hurling insults at each other on Twitter. Or maybe not. Or maybe just…not right away.
But it doesn’t matter, anyway, what maybe happens in some unforeseeable future, because RIGHT NOW I’m living in a world that contains music as beautiful as Crosby Stills Nash and Young singing Carry On; a world where someone had the genius to cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes; where you can buy just about anything you need or want with the click of a button. The world I live in also contains adorable kitty cats, chintz, gardenias, funny jokes, and my loving husband. And cashews.
IN THIS MOMENT, I know who I am, I know what I believe, I know that 2+2=4, and in my heart of hearts I know I am right with God, and though the world around me and even my own body are subject to decay and corruption, in my spirit I am determined to FOCUS on the 5% (more or less) that is good, and true, and to follow the Narrow Path that is lined with music, sunshine, perfume, love, flowers, socks, delicious food, kitty cats, coffee, and every beautiful thing that is worthy of my attention.
The end of all things may certainly be on its way, but I will NOT contribute to that decay, and in the meantime, I’m going to ENJOY every good thing that life has to offer.