Sunday, January 10, 2016

Beyond Gloom & Doom

Whenever I listen to the news or read the newspaper, gloom inundates my mind—nothing cheerful, nothing uplifting. News about terror, war and corruption, news about our causing alarming decimation of other species and momentous pollution of our planet, or about earthquakes, floods and fires. Man against man, man against beast, man against nature, and nature against man. Nothing but gloom and doom.

I reach for a piece of chocolate to chase away the blues and decide to walk to the store.

A neighbor waves a friendly Good Morning. A little boy holds the door for me—what kindness in one so young! The sky is blue. Overhead, a plane takes travelers to distant destinations. Below, flowers sparkle in the sunshine. My spirits lift with joy.

As always when I enter a grocery store, I marvel at the abundance of fruit and food. I grew up in war-torn Europe, when food was severely rationed. People were pitifully thin.

I remember my overwhelming amazement when I had my first American meal, succulent roast beef—more than a month’s ration—a baked potato, butter and corn. We did have potatoes—that’s what we lived on —but there was no butter or cream or anything else. For my first dessert in America I chose an orange—I vaguely recalled once having seen one. I knew nothing about ice cream.

Today I’m looking for an orchid for my brother. “Long lines,” I mention to the young woman in front of me. It is Saturday. “You’ve got only one item?” she asks, looking at my plant. “Do go ahead of me,” she offers.

I thank her for her kindness, but decline, seeing her little son. “I bet you’re eager too to get back into the sunshine,” I say. He smiles. We chat amicably about this and that and before we know it, we reach the checkout stand.

I walk home with a smile, glad to realize again that most individuals are kind, far kinder than the media realizes. I mentally survey my friends and acquaintances and find that they all have admirable traits: it may be kindness, joie de vivre or integrity, knowledge, special skills or a good sense of humor. It’s rare that I run into a person who’s devoid of a worthy trait.

It is NOT a world of gloom and doom, I conclude, but a world of infinite variety. And, gratifyingly, we are free to choose our focus and attitude. By doing so we create a world of our own making.

Until next time,


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