You know what really grinds my gears? Wanting to go off about something, but knowing there’s no point because those on the receiving end of such outbursts will just not get it. Such was the case yesterday when, as I was driving from one patient to the next, I find myself behind a black SUV with temporary tags. This wasn’t a brand new vehicle, mind you, just one that seemed recently purchased as a used car. Nevertheless, I am behind said vehicle at a stop light, when all of a sudden, the passenger side window of the SUV rolls down and out flies a carryout bag and drink cup. Before I could stop myself, I’m screaming, “What the hell?!?”
The light changes and we continue on our way, me fuming, and the occupants of the SUV completely unaware of my rage. Now, I have to admit, there were more choice words shouted out in my car, as well as contemplation of widely known hand gestures, but I tempered myself before that literally got out of hand. As I zoomed around them in order to physically put them out of sight and hopefully out of mind, the trash-thrower-in-question just stared at me. We came to stop again, side-by-side at the next stop light, and thankfully, they then turned down another street.
I realized that, for the most part, my world is fairly simple. I choose to see my world as a positive one, where everyone is essentially good, until it is proven otherwise. I want to recognize the beauty God has created, despite the negativity constantly displayed both in person and on tv/movies/online. I guess that’s why I am so outraged when I see blatant stupidity rear it’s ugly head right in front of me. It causes me to ask myself: Am I in denial about the reality around me? Is the world actually a crappy place to be and I just choose to not see it? Do I have a right to be angry and outraged when I see something like this, or should I just resign myself to the fact that this is the world we live in and I need to get used to it?
So I’m interested in your thoughts. How do you choose to see the world – in a positive light with the occasional negative segment thrown in, or, that it’s all going down the drain and you’re just keeping your head down to get through it? When we ask ourselves these questions, I think it causes us to go deeper in search of our meaning on earth. What are we here to do? For those of us with a faith practice, what has God/our higher power placed us here to accomplish and/or be? I refuse to believe I am not supposed to see the good in others and to continue to try to make this world a better place using the gifts God has placed within me.
BUT…at present I do not have a frame of reference for what I am supposed to do when that goodness is challenged and the negativity appears. Biblical scripture tells us, “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet,” (Matthew 10:14). These are words I do practice, but again, I question how I am supposed to feel in the wake leaving these situations. Is it right to be outraged? Should I shake my fist at the defiance of common decency and respect for what is right and good? More importantly, who am I to assume that I alone know what is right and good?
There is so much that is wrong with our world…from hunger, to disease, to terrorism, to abuse…the list goes on. I’ve often felt that, no matter how long we are on this earth, those things will continue and we will never eradicate them. Yet, I feel we must constantly try. I choose to fight for a better world, one that I can be proud of and one I know God had created for us. Sometimes my fight is in the form of doing for others and living up to my defining belief that “Whatever you did for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did for me,” (Matthew 25:40). And, sometimes it is in the form of outrage and venting on social media. Neither are perfect in their results, I know. But hell, if it all was perfect, I wouldn’t have anything to writer about, would I?