Sunday, November 1, 2015

Shining a Light

There were two people who spoke today at church whose message really touched me. The first spoke about how appreciative he was of the excellent manners the youth and children showed as they were trick-or-treating. He noted they were quick to offer unsolicited "Thank-you's" and otherwise behave in a very polite fashion. He went on to talk about many simple acts of kindness he observed in the neighborhood - people sharing produce from their garden, or bringing bread or some other homemade goody to a neighbor...

The second individual talked about a friend who had been coming to church with him lately - a man who had experienced some difficult times. He expressed gratitude to the many members of the church who had been so welcoming to this man. He expressed that the man "felt like a rock-star" the way he was treated by the congregation.

I was touched to tears by their expressions of gratitude for simple kindnesses.

Later we were having a lesson on Faith, in which it was noted that "Faith is choice, not chance".

That led me to recall a... parable one of my brothers shared a number of years before. He is a racing fan, and he shared the analogy that race car drivers, are aware of the wall, and want to avoid hitting the wall (which could be painful or even fatal), but they don't focus on the wall. They focus instead on the line they are driving - where they want to go. Because if you are looking at the wall, you are probably going to hit it.

More personally, I remember my own experience cycling - I've done a number of 100+ Mile rides, and when you are riding for that long, you do have a little time on your hands. I observed that if I looked to the side, the bike would inevitably drift to the side. If I looked to the side and consciously made an effort to compensate for that drift, I would inevitably drift the opposite direction.

In order to maintain the desired course, It is necessary to look where you want to go. You have to focus on the desired goal, and not get distracted by the stuff on the side.

All this led me to recall how a few months ago, I made the decision to stop listening to the radio while driving to/from work. I never found music that I liked or found appropriate, so I would end up on one of the news/talk stations. I became aware that I was coming home feeling agitated, angry. So... I turned the radio off. In a few weeks I realized that I was no less informed on critical current events, and I was arriving home in a MUCH better mood!

Typically when "Shining a light" is mentioned, it is taken to mean pointing a light in the darkness. It is used to mean drawing attention to or exposing corruption, scandal... To expose the bad behavior of those working in secret. Particularly those in power (governments, corporations, etc...)

But it occurs to me, what we really need to do more of is shine the light on the bright spots - To call attention to the many acts of kindness, to celebrate the simple acts of politeness and human decency... We need to look to where we want to be - stop focusing on where we don't want to be.

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