Must be nice…

You’re probably familiar with this phrase or some close derivative of it:

  • x,y,z never happens to me…
  • I’d do anything to have something like this…
  • Wish I were so lucky…
  • I never win/get anything…

I’m sure you could add several other ones to this list. We’re all guilty of these types of responses and have been the recipient of them as well.

 

With social media taking the place of so many other forms of communications these types of statements seem to be on the rise. I think it is due to a couple of things. First, we’ve become much like the ancient Egyptians where we only record our victories (successes and positives) as opposed to a balanced view of our personal history/story. Secondly, when we encounter our social media threads we find ourself envious of the ideal life that we’ve pieced together from all the ‘great‘ things happening in everyone’s lives around us.

What would it look like if our first responses to good news for others was NOT to compare our own situation but instead to celebrate the favor that they’ve gained?

Our behavior on social media often reminds me a bit of a biblical story of ‘The Prodigal Son‘ where the one brother returns and the other’s response is something along the lines of, “but I never get to…” When we insert ourselves into these moments for other people we’re often guilty of stealing some of the joy, redemption, happiness that they were to receive. Just imagine if the older brother’s response would’ve been to contribute to the party and celebration as opposed to detracting from the moment?

So let’s challenge one another to celebrate the good that befalls our neighbor, cherish the moments of success of our friends, heap gladness onto the fortune of our family members. Let’s learn to bask in the glow of each others joy.

 

Moral Blackholes

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It occurred to me this morning that within life there are space(s) where Moral Blackholes exist. You know the place(s)! If not, let me give you an example:

I hear many a Christian express how morality of our culture is going out the window…how the world is “heading to hell in a handbasket”…how this generation is worse than the previous…blah, blah, blah. Maybe you say such things…but then this high moral individual enters The Moral Blackhole (make sure you read that with an ominous voice)…a place that makes the Twilight Zone seem normal…a place that makes the Bermuda Triangle seem like a great vacation destination…a place where the moral code is lost in translation.

For every person this is probably a different space/place but the one that seems to be a common MB is when behind the wheel of a car. Speed Limit – pshh – I scoff at speed limits! Stop signs – don’t tell me how to live my life! No stopping zones – need not apply! School Zones – kids are fast and like to dodge things!
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An automobile is a fascinating device – one that can take the highest Moralist and reduce them to driver of said handbasket. Now cars are not the only MB out there – it just seemed like one that most of us could relate to.

Top Ten:
10. Punctuality
9. Office Supplies
8. Tipping at restaurants
7. Shortcuts on the Job
6. Coupons (one per visit)
5. Downloading music/movies/software
4. When someone upsets us first (retaliation)
3. Wrong Change/Wrong Price (and we realize it)
2. Taxes
1. Driving
What items did I miss? What would you list as the top ten (or at least top few)?

What are your Moral Blackholes? Why do we make exceptions? Why will most of us respond defensively to this question (especially if it comes to driving)?

Thoughts in Solitude (Merton)

This is one of my favorite prayers by Merton, enjoy:

My LORD G_d, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

– Thomas Merton

Thoughts in Solitude