Friday, March 2, 2012

In America We are So...


We are scared of public restrooms and germs even though virtually every soap we use is anti-microbial and a simple hand-washing now is akin to a surgeon's pre-op scrub-up 20 years ago.

We are scared of what's going to happen to our kids while they are away from us at school, or wherever; even though we live in one of the statistically safest communities.

We are scared the next president is always going to take away our guns even though no president has ever done it and it would be instant political suicide.

If it helps, I am tempted to be scared sometimes too. Just last week I watched as Slater drove away from our home alone, legally licensed. Fear crept in, "What if?..."

If it helps, companies spend millions of dollars to scare us into their products. Insurance companies, investment companies and every home cleaning product company, spend 30-60 seconds to remind us of the horrible things in store for us without their product. Cleaning product companies are single-handedly creating a nation of germaphobes.

Just for fun, every time a commercial comes on, see if you can see the fear-motivation of it. It's rampant.

The Problem.
Rational fear is fine. A few weeks ago there was a crazed gunman who shot 4 people in the vicinity of downtown Kokomo. I was scheduled to be downtown for a workout. The shooter had yet to be apprehended. No workout that day. Rational fear.

The problem is irrational fear takes our mind off of things truly worthy of our attention and diverts it to trivialities. Oh, and also gets us worked up. Stress. Blood pressure.

And it robs us of today's blessings. When Slate drove away I had a choice: fret about what could happen. Get tense. Furrow my brow. Breathe seriously.

Or I could celebrate that a great responsible kid with solid driving skills just embarked on a new phase of his life.

Every day that nothing is wrong is a gift! (Even some bad things bring gifts, but that's another blog.) And when we worry about things that could happen, we're spitting on today's blessings. Instead of being wrapped up in smiles and all that is right, we tie ourselves up in fruitless knots. And it's a choice.

The Solution.
Be thankful. Give thanks. Maybe the reason we often say, "Where was God?" when something bad happened is because we hadn't given Him any thanks the other 364 days of the year. If today's got no emergencies, no real problems, dance! Smile! Hug someone! If you're so inclined, thank God!

The difference between living in fear vs. thankfulness is right between our ears. It's a choice. Fear only has the power we give it. The solution to a fearful existence is a thankful spirit.

The next time you're driving, or standing in line somewhere, see how many things you can notice that are going RIGHT in your life. Everyday is full of gifts. We just need to see and appreciate them.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go wash my hands after typing on this germ-filled keyboard ;-)