If I’m thirsty, I drink, if I’m hungry, I eat, but how does one quench pessimism?
I feel it, personally, I feel it, locally, I think America is in a national state of negative. Why? It’s the virus, the politics, the economy, plus we’re weary of this us-versus-them America.
I can’t fix America, can’t fix my little town, but I want to fix me.
Or is it like healing from a sickness, the little milestones, “First day out of bed, he walked all the way to the mailbox today…”
How It Feels
My load is light, compared to many, so I’ll only woe in generalities.
Life feels paused, like a car caught in stalled traffic. You’re moving, barely, but mostly you feel trapped. If it’s no fun for an hour, it’s certainly no fun for months.
Last year I was a grownup; this year, I feel like a teenager. Tomorrow I can make little plans, pay a bill, or buy a lightbulb, but I can’t make serious plans for a month from now, and as for next year, who knows?
The Good Me
I want my good me back! Good me doesn’t care if it’s a bad year. I come from a long line of ancestors who had their version of a 2020. They made it through, I’ll make it through.
I’ll bend to the common good, wear the masks, stand far away, if that’s what we have to do, but I want to have my old fire back. I miss my go-gettum and my want-to, clear eyes on a clear goal.
I want to hear my own motor. I’m a depend-on-myself guy, and I’ve got myself stuck with the herd, listening to all that moo and moan. That’s not who I am.
When I’m at my best I don’t care about the glass being half full or half empty; I’m just happy to have a glass, and appreciate that it doesn’t leak. That’s the me I need for 2020.
When I’m trying to lift myself from lower to higher my first impulse is to count blessings. If you feel empty, there’s plenty room for grateful.
The lower you are, the harder it is, I’ll vouch for that, but even a pitiful attempt is a victory just for being an attempt. We hear ourselves, even our silent whispers. And so does God.
My list always starts with life. I am alive. That is a fine situation to be in. Better yet, God actually knows my name, even wants me to call Him Father…
A little pondering on that is a fine use of pondering.
Don’t Be Chicken Little
My second step is to seek perspective. We’re not in a world war. We’re not in a famine. We’re not in a revolution. Aliens are not about to invade. No asteroid is about to wipe out life on Earth.
This may not be the best America, but neither is it Russia, North Korea, Venezuela or whatever thank-you-but-no-thank-you country comes to mind.
As for the virus… nature versus mankind, that’s always and forever. Sooner or later we all die, but the herd keeps going and growing.
Moods are natural too. We accept that oceans have tides, so why not accept that emotions have tides? The up and down of hope and despair, the ebb and flow of optimism and pessimism, this is as natural as the inhale and exhale of our lungs.
Some of the greatest leaders in history, Abe Lincoln, Winston Churchill (among many) were just like you and I, fighting the droops, but carrying greater responsibilities.
When I look back on the decades of my life, the hard times did me the most good. (I don’t want to repeat them, but I wouldn’t take money for what I gained.) I’m trying to apply that to 2020. If we only thrive when it’s up and easy, we’re no better than a common yard weed. This is a year for growing roots, not fruits.
Faith In My Foundation
If there’s anything I need to look down at, it’s the foundation that I stand on, and live by.
I believe in God, in the capital G sense, all Good, all Great, all Got-It. I may feel like a leaf in a hurricane, but my God does not sway.
I believe my life has purpose. I can sabotage it, waste it, I can pout 2020 away – I have the choice – but if I get to getting, God is there waiting for me, on the doing path.
Every pulse and breath, every gift and talent, they all come from God, and all come with an implied contract. My end of the deal is to take raw and refine it, do the labor, do the work, with a right heart and clean motives.
If I bake the bread, God will make the sandwich.
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is dedicated to the memory of my father. That man was a natural fishing cork. Sometimes he got nibbled on, sometimes yanked way under, but he always popped to the surface, a smile on his face.
Hope you feel better for reading. I feel better for writing.
Those wishing to reach Uncle P with sound discourse, shameless flattery, or to make Uncle P a beneficiary in your will, may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.