Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ask yourself if it's really worth it.

This has been a hard year. It's just one thing after another. Right on the heels of several deaths of friends, my older brother had a surprise heart attack complete with a double bypass, and just this week he had emergency surgery to remedy the C-diff infection he contacted while recovering from the first surgery. This is going to mean huge adjustments for him, but without the surgery, he would have died. HE WOULD HAVE DIED. As I write this, he is still under controlled sedation and probably will be for a couple more days.

My mom was supposed to be on vacation in Atlantic City, and my brother was supposed to be feeding gorillas at the zoo. He was looking forward to his summer job. (He retired a few years back and now does pretty much whatever he wants.) But instead, Mom's getting worn out running back & forth to the hospital, where my brother, who used to take me to the movies at Christmas and buy me records, is currently unconscious.

So let me ask you: is it worth it?

Is it worth it to get the last word in every discussion or debate, even f someone's feelings are needlessly hurt?   Is it worth it to speed up so the guy in the car next to you can't change lanes, because you're in such a freakin hurry? Is it worth it getting irritated at a squalling child in a public place? Is it worth it to always get your way? Is it worth it getting pissed off at some ridiculous comment someone posted on Facebook?

Well, is it?

I'm not saying we should never get angry, or that we should never fight for something worthwhile. Anger is often the root of many great accomplishments, because it spurs people to action. No, I'm talking about all the mundane stupid shit we're so quick to get irritated about, and yes, I'm as guilty as anyone. But this last month or two, and especially this week, I've been giving that a lot of thought.

How hard is it, really, to just slow down for two seconds and let a fellow driver over? Unless you're driving a police car or an ambulance, you're not in that big of a hurry. The universe won't collapse if you pause for two or three seconds. How hard is it to say "okay, fair enough" and let someone else have the last word? How hard is it to give away just a sliver of lovingkindness? It doesn't cost you anything. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, it neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg.

And instead of judging strangers, how hard is it to remember that everyone is fighting a battle of some kind? Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. We never know someone's circumstances.

Think about it. And till next time --- open your heart as well as your eyes, for the heart often sees more than the eyes can comprehend.


  1. You are wise beyond your 150 years. I heard recently of a preacher who committed to a year of "slowing" in which he always drove in the slow lane, always allowed other cars to merge, purposely choose the longest line at stores, and basically made every effort possible to put others first. The result? He lowered his stress levels and blood pressure, began showing up early instead of barely on time, and found opportunities for tons of good old fashioned conversations.