Thursday, November 19, 2009

Colors of the World (repost)

When you look at it in a mean way, how mean it is! When you look at it selfishly, how selfish it is! But when you look at it in a broad, generous, friendly spirit, what wonderful people you find in it.~ Horace Rutledge

I always find it interesting that my husband and I can meet the same people and have an entirely different impression of them. Similarly, our views of current events are also very conflicting at times.

My husband sees the world as a hostile environment, where ruthless people are consistently arranging their days around taking advantage of others. He is a news addict, and will – after a day of stress and countless exchanges – use his entire evening to hear more and more distressing segments, nodding his head when someone makes a statement of impending doom.

I am the opposite side of the coin. I peruse the paper every morning but focus mostly on the positive news. I don’t believe we live in a perfect world, but I don’t believe our world is all that bad either. We have conflicts, hardship and everyday obstacles, but so has had every generation before us.

I don’t believe people are any worse today than they were yesterday; we are simply more aware of events and heinous acts because of the advent of widespread media. I don’t think there are more child molesters loose on the streets; the only difference between yesterday and today is that in the old days we didn’t know of a child who had been kidnapped three states away, and victims were more reticent to come forth and point a finger at their abusers; dirty laundry was, more or less, washed at home.

It is human nature to be fearful and doubtful. It is also another human flaw to be easily influenced by negative suggestions. Since childhood we are conditioned to be afraid and careful. Germs will hurt us; friends have a double agenda; strangers will kill us; very few caregivers ever explain to children that stress and fear make us sick worse than germs, most friends don’t have hidden plans, and the majority of strangers will only kill us with a smile. Personally, I refuse to live in a world where I have to feel fearful and defensive at all times. I do believe in destiny, and I think that if something is meant to happen to me, it will happen regardless of how paranoid or relaxed I am.

Everything in our world is dual; we can choose to look at one face of it or the other. Electricity can warm us and provide light, but can also be used to electrocute; water is healing and soothing but can also be employed to drown someone; fire is warm and inviting but can also char everything on its path; air can be uplifting and wind relaxing, yet it can carry a blaze across forested areas.

There are always two ways to look at the same thing; it is up to us to decide which color of lens we choose to wear when we take a look around.

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