In today’s world, we know what everybody is doing. We know who has crashed a plane in another country, and who is beating up a homeless man, and what school bus crashed, and which teacher had sex with her student, and how many times Miley Cyrus stuck her tongue out during a concert.
Can you imagine Andy and Barney’s conversations on Aunt Bee’s porch if they’d had the constant access to information that we have today?
“I hear Goober fixed Floyd’s car yesterday.”
“Yup, yup. Heard that too.”
“Did you hear about the guy in New York who shot all those people who were just trying to eat lunch? And how that Justin Bieber kid got arrested again? Or about that earthquake in Peru?”
“Yup, yup. Heard that too. Wonder if Floyd knows about that.”
Then Andy and Barney would tell Floyd, and Floyd would tell Goober, and suddenly half of Maybery would be on Prozac.
We Need to Focus on our Mayberry . . .
I bet many of us sit on our virtual front porches and talk to our kids, our mothers, our spouses, and our friends. We start out sharing things about our lives, but then quickly move into stuff we can’t control.
The other day my mother and I were talking about the planes that had fallen from the sky, which led to discussions of shootings, which led to earthquakes. By the time I got to work, I felt completely overwhelmed. And as our conversation concluded, my mom said, “I totally forgot to tell you about my day yesterday.”
I hung up the phone and grabbed an extra Starbucks drink to pull myself out of the emotional ditch we had created with our conversation. I’m sure mom had to do the same.
Let’s Just Follow Our Story . . .
I fear that we’re all so weighed down by everything that we’re not looking up too see our special somethings.
We miss the smile our children send us as they get on the school bus.
We miss the wave from our elderly neighbor.
We miss the look of need from our co-worker.
All because our energy is zapped by events that don’t actually involve us.
Release the Uncontrollables . . .
If you can’t control it, write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. Let the thought go by like a dark cloud.
Focus on the face in front of you, or the voice on the phone, or the driver beside you.
Because trying to take on everybody else’s story dilutes our own. Cervantes wouldn’t have written Don Quixote if he spent every day listening to everyone else’s story. Handel’s Messiah would not have been created had he spent every day worrying about the end of the world.
Instead, let’s put our energy into doing what we’re supposed to do. Care about those immediately around us; make a difference in the lives of the people we can impact.
Throw off the weight of stories we can’t change.
There’s not much I can do about Justin Bieber or that sinkhole in Florida. But I can sure live my life here with as much gusto as possible.
I think I’ll just focus on my story.
And I’m pretty sure Justin won’t be in it.
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