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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Do You Do When You're Sick of the Whole World?

I watched the news yesterday morning after my sleep apnea study and it was downright depressing. Admittedly, it had been a bad night without my CPAP while they were collecting data, so I wasn't really bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while sitting in the waiting room eating my oatmeal. But in the half hour I sat there, the local media gleefully trotted out pundits and film clips aplenty to justify the rioting that's been going on in Baltimore the past few days because white people support cops and thus are abusing black people. Then they spent the last half of the newscast explaining how religious people like me were causing health problems for gay and lesbian people because of our belief that homosexual behavior is a sin. I had to leave and get out for a walk in the fresh air to try and get my sense of perspective back.

A friend posted a note on Facebook saying she was "
really disgruntled with mankind & need a reminder there's still lots of good out there."  I know how she feels. Here is my suggestion for anyone who is kind of feeling fed up with it all.  At least it's what works for me.

Look around your kitchen. Find something that doesn't work well, a pan that sticks, a can opener that's dull, knives that won't hold an edge, a mixer that is inadequate. Go out and buy a replacement - new and better. Get yourself a Kitchen-Aid with a dough hook, a set of eversharp knives or one of those $10 deluxe can openers. Get yourself a set of glass tupperware containers. I love those. The other day I found that buying a small $11 Paula Deen frying pan made me rejoice in the ingenuity of human beings. I needed a little pan that I could do an egg in without having to wrestle the big old monster stainless steel one I use for big jobs. I replaced my sticky Wok with one that the Chinese veggies slide right out of and only requires a light application of olive oil.

For guys who don't cook, look around your garage or shop. Go get yourself that tool that missing from your toolkit or replace something that doesn't work well. Get something for yourself that will make your work easier and more fun.

It's silly how happy stuff like that makes me. I can go out and buy a pair of thick warm socks in winter and walk around the house in them all day long grinning stupidly. Last week I bought myself a model sailing ship and every time I think about working on it, it makes me smile, even though book deadlines have kept me from doing anything on it yet.

Take the dog for a walk in the early morning with the sun slanting through the trees. I take a deep breath and just listen to the breeze murmering in the tops of the Douglas firs. I can feel my heart relax. I can feel my soul smiling.

Turns out it's not the big things we think we need - fancy vacations, new cars, the fanciest houses or cocktail parties with the best people. It's sharing a joke with an old friend on Facebook. It's calling your kids to find out how they're doing and to tell them you love them without any strings attached. It's the last page of that chapter you've been working on. It's plunging into a lake in the summer and swimming out a ways just to put yourself in a quiet spot, away from the shore with the arch of blue sky overhead and the cool water wrapped around you like a hug. I like paddling a canoe out on the river or a lake. It's pretty cheap to do and immensely satisfying if you know how to paddle well.

Any day I spend sitting on a porch with someone I love watching the sun go down; maybe playing my guitar with my feet propped up on the porch rail....that's a good day.

If you're sick of human beings, go to a website called Godvine. The videos there will make you smile and will at the same time make you feel a lot better about people. It's the upside of the Youtube phenomenon that we not only capture the bad things that happen, but we also capture the good side of the human race - the side that blesses, not curses; that sings; not complains; that loves, not hates.

Life is too good to let the people who are miserable drag you down with them.

© 2015 by Tom King

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