One day years ago I became saddened by the suffering of the planet and it’s people, our climate changes, the deaths of innocent animals as their environment changes; and everything seemed to be “going to hell in a handbag.”
I thought about the fears and anxieties the world’s sick or hungry; or those terrorized by their governments or thugs. Then there are those without jobs or no money and on and on.
I was expressing my anxieties to one of my dear friends. She reminded me that people have been going through crises not unlike this for centuries. Many innocent people have died from plagues, torture, starvation and other tragedies for centuries. This is really nothing new except it is new to us now and it can be frightening.
I had trouble sleeping that night. I was up until 1 AM trying to “solve the world’s problems” (not really but they were sure enough on my mind.) Then I woke up at 4 AM, got a snack and dozed off and on until noon. Some of the problem was that I was very tired and some of it was that I felt overwhelmed by the world’s crises.
I am sure there are others like myself whose minds get ramped up going on and on when they get tired or overwhelmed. Finally there comes a point where you have to leave it behind when you can’t do anything directly to help. You realize that you have to take care of the things you can take care of and do whatever you are able to do to help those around you.
The next night I slept really well. I woke up the next morning to a little bird, possibly a sparrow or a cardinal chirping outside my window as if it could go on forever. That same bird had been chirping the same way outside my window every morning since the weather started warming up. For some reason I felt comfort in this simple bird and his/her song.
This little bird reminded me that the world is still revolving on its axis, traveling its annual trip around the sun. There are things that are changing and there are things that are not changing. Our world has been going through cycles of major problems for centuries but it is still here.
Another thing this little one helped me realize is that sometimes it’s the little things in life that can make a big difference. The link below is to a scene from n old movie, “Oh, God.” This excerpt may help explain the effect of this little bird. God in a common human form (George Burns) comes to a man, Jerry, (John Denver) while he in his shower. Jerry is of course quite shocked that God is there and talking to him! God suggests doing something he does everyday to make him relax and be more comfortable. I loved this movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVvKuI8oK3c
The daily commoness of that little bird reminded me that the rest of the world is still there and will continue for a good, long time to come. We are just going through hard times just like the world has gone through many other hard times for centuries. Perhaps these times are times for us to stop and think about our lives; to remember how much we treasure our lives.
Maybe we are being slowed down to see the beauty in the things we have been too busy to appreciate in the past. I have heard that bird before but never paid attention to its persistent song and had not even taken time to see what kind of bird it was. This morning I didn’t hear that bird. But I noticed its absence.
I value even more the little encounters I have with my sweet neighbors in the hall of my condominium building. We all check on each other, say hello and other pleasantries in the lobby as we come or go. How good it is to see another friendly neighbor when you may have a load on your mind. How good to hear their voices, see their smiles, catch up on whatever is new.
Yes, there is suffering and pain and scary things happening. But other than pray and leave it to God there is not a lot we regular humans can do. We can recycle; volunteer in worthy causes; help others by donating used items to thrift stores that actually help others; be kind. I am sure many have heard of the Prayer of Serenity. Many versions of it have been used in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings because of its comforting and guiding words. This is the common version used and heard by many.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can change and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen
Seems to me this is a good goal or prayer for all of us right now.
One last scene from the movie “Oh, God.” God has been arrested and is in court charged with something. The judge and the charging lawyer declare that this little old man is insane and should be put away. God helps clarify things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxmaYsZjnXo
“Do the best you can with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt
I like to alter the quote a bit. “Do the best you can with what you have to do with.”