Every time it’s my turn to write a My Turn, I usually spend a considerable amount of time mulling over different issues or circumstances I have seen in the community that could be improved if only more people in the community addressed them and took action.
I was raised to believe “If there is someone in need you should do your best to help them out.”
Working and living in Lassen and Plumas counties these past 25 years, I have met quite a number of people who believe that same maxim, yet I have always wondered why there is another adage that seems to hold true at the same time, “20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work.”
In recent months I have experienced an inordinate amount of anger and negativism coming from folks in general and, more importantly, from people I never expected it from.
I think part of it is due to the stress and frustration of the election process we have all been subjected to day in and day out over the past few months.
I have always prided myself on trying to keep up on current events, but I have recently gotten to the point where I don’t want to watch the news because it’s filled with the constant tirades of one political pundit or another regarding the opposing candidate.
I barely even check my Facebook account anymore because even my friends are bombarding me with their cut and paste opinions about what needs to be done to make everything blissful once more.
I have become completely exhausted by the rage and resentment that seems to be creeping into our society.
Then last Sunday I heard some words that gave me a new perspective about why our society may be getting so angry.
It’s called jealousy.
We all want what we think the other guy has.
We keep comparing our lives to people who have what we think we want and when we can’t seem to get there we get angry because life isn’t fair.
After all, we all know what good people we are, and we are certainly able to judge for ourselves what we deserve to achieve for our efforts.
Then, as I listened to the second part of the message the pastor of our church was offering, that little light bulb in my head clicked on.
The flash of light that came to me was that most people are always looking at what they don’t have instead of what they do have.
We’re always trying to get more and seldom aware of how much we already have, especially when compared to the world stage.
The first words the pastor talked about was a passage from Matthew 19:24 where Jesus tells his disciples, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” referring to humanity’s inability to let go of their quest for more and more personal possessions.
The second part of his message explained to the congregation how rich we as Americans really are.
When you consider that there are millions of people around the world who would love to have the leftovers from our tables, that live in cardboard boxes and have no idea of the concept of what electricity and clean water are, it does become crystal clear that we, as a nation, are indeed blessed with an abundance and that by definition that makes us rich.
People who live “below the poverty level” in this country would be considered living like kings to people in Haiti or Liberia.
To me the question then becomes “why are we so obsessed with always being jealous of what someone else has, when all it does is make us angry and resentful?”
The demoralizing election process is over for me.
I have already mailed in my ballot and, as I believe everyone should do, I voted for what I believe will best benefit every person in this community, state and nation.
Now I want to focus my life on the future and the upcoming seasons that we traditionally celebrate as a time of thanksgiving and helping one another.
Maybe if everyone focuses more on how truly blessed we already are we won’t be quite so bitter and upset about what we think we should have.
Only then can we get back to being the country of blessed Americans we have been in the past.
Is that not what we should mean when we say, “God Bless America?”