My grandfather was an old-time preacher man; one of his favorite sayings was “Great minds talk about ideals, average minds talk about current events, but small minds talk about people.”
This saying came to mind yesterday when after the “news” concluded and the following program was one of those gossip shows keeping us updated on the lives of people who care not a whit for the great unwashed: Hollywood celebrities, the “Royals”, entertainers, politicians, etc. Not ideas, or even momentous current events, but instead merely trotting out the daily pontification of the “privileged” class, the preferred fodder of small minds.
The news channels are just as bad, if not worse, with their gaggles of squawking heads not even attempting to hide their personal preferences. I can’t help but wonder what this says about the world we live in, where we are so insecure in our own beliefs that we allow ourselves to be led like sheep to the slaughter by those who would control by promoting division.
Or am I hitting too close to home to include the bitterness spewed daily on social media based on personal dislikes instead of actual facts, the posts full of “f*%k Trump” or “effing dumocrats”; really? Indefensible personal attacks, again the hall mark of small minds.
But what if there are no small minds, just small visions?
The richness of our lives is in our connections with others. I don’t mean friendships or family. How we treat others is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Misery loves company; when we snap at others it is usually because something is gnawing at us from within. Lashing out is much like peeing on yourself in dark clothes; you might feel warm for a minute, no one else notices half as much as you think they do, but you’re the one that has to carry the stench with you the rest of the day.
The underlying problem is our self-image. When told our actions or feel that our opinions are marginalized, we have a tendency to reach out to like minded people, and very seldom done in a positive way. So what do we do? Try to place someone beneath us. It is an attempt to attain a feeling of moral or intellectual superiority, but the exact opposite is what occurs.
An example: when Jo Ann got cancer, I found myself resenting her for the extra demands it put on me. Even though I was fully aware that this was ridiculous, petulant behavior, I couldn’t seem to shake it, and it caused me to resent myself for being such an ass, which in turn made me resent her condition even more, and the downward spiral continued. It had nothing to do with her, but our relationship still bears the scars. The feeling that we’re no longer in control of a particular situation often drives us to engage in “scrambling” behavior, and little forward progress can ever be made if our tires are spinning wildly in mud or loose gravel.
Instead of just sitting in one place and digging a deeper rut while twisting the throttle, sometimes you have to get off of the bike for a bit, take a breather and reassess the situation. Pack something solid under your rear tire, knock away the uphill lip of the rut, grab a lower gear, maybe pick a different path up the rocky slope and go on about your journey.
Maybe that’s a positive side effect of this whole Corona thing, a time to at least consider a different path. Social distancing may be working to control the spread of this particular virus, but the type of social distancing that we have been encouraged to engage in over the last few years surely is not. The Hebrew word “selah” means “pause and consider”, and maybe that’s the particular season we are in. I know I am. Maybe it’s time to stop hammering the throttle but instead time to feather the clutch and ease on up out of here.
It will all work out in the end; if it’s not working out, it’s not the end…
We be of one blood, ye and I.