If you do not think every day is a great day try going without one. ~ Jim Evans
We pass by unexpected marvels every day. The more our concerns distract us, the harder it is to notice these marvels. We live in a time of increasing anxiety about money, investments and possessions. What is to become of us?
Writing these words reminds me of how I felt about life in 1965. For many people that year was like many others, nothing special. For me it was like jumping off a cliff, feeling the wind rushing by my face, and having no idea where I would land.
I had just left a sheltered monastic existence. Each meal appeared before me at the appointed time. I had no wallet or bank account, much less money and did not care. Survival, basic necessities and making a living never concerned me.
Now survival seemed my greatest challenge. Within days, I realized I had lost my religious deferment. Waiting for me were the draft board and the prospect of carrying a gun in Vietnam rather than a rosary in the cloister.
Panic designated me quickly and my lack of survival skills hit me square in the face. While I was writing the previous paragraph, my radio started playing John Lennon’s Imagine. While the fear expressed in all our news surround us like an angry sea, the possibilities suggested by John Lennon bob in the ocean, ready for us to reach out and assist them.
I am now in uncharted waters as I was in 1965. Yet fear does not grip me. I can see, hear, taste, smell and touch life’s marvels. How is this possible?
Our world is not ending. It is just changing. The time of having everything we want is coming to an end. The old American dream is now clearly a fantasy, at least for the foreseeable future. Our assumptions about endless riches are fast disappearing.
Some people are likely to continue having much more than they need and others will scratch to survive. Maybe our current crisis is a challenge to our nation. Maybe it is time to reexamine our priorities.
Could it be possible for us to think of each other as part of a caring community rather than competitors to be beat back while we grab what we want? Some people already live this way. Maybe you do, or know someone who does. What would the world be like if we all had as much concern for each other as we do for ourselves?
John Lennon did not offer any formulas or quick solutions. He invited us to imagine what the world could have like if we treated each other differently. Perhaps it would do us all good to close our eyes to our fears if just for a moment, be thankful for what we have and use our imaginations for what might be.
Life Lab Lessons
- How thankful are you for your good fortune?
- Pay attention to the good things which come your way.
- Try writing down what makes you grateful each morning.
- Let your imagination out to play at least for a while.
- Find a place for your imagination in your daily life.