We All Need One Another
I would like to dedicate this essay to Ron Peck, Sr. Ron is a friend from Pawling, New York, who has had a huge and helpful influence on my life in helping me to see how small people can be. He has always invited me to live with big and lofty ideals. In his honor, I say to us all: "Aude aliquid dignum," which is Latin for "Dare something worthy."
- Despite your age
- Despite your self doubt
- Despite your fears
This big, scary, troubled, confusing, beautiful, and crazy world needs something from you. What does it need? I will tell you clearly what it needs.
Are you ready for a clear answer of what the world needs from you?
(By the way, the older you get, don't you find that you just love clarity?)
Goethe, a bright philosopher from Germany said:
TELL ME YOUR CERTAINTIES. I HAVE ENOUGH DOUBTS OF MY OWN
And so you can see you are in great company if you like clarity.
So then: What does the world need from you? As promised, I will give you a clear answer, but I am going to borrow it from a very wise man who lived a very troubled time. His name was Jeremiah and he lived a long time ago when his country (named Israel) was captured by another country (named Babylon). His advice to people back then is my answer to what the world needs from you. Listen to what he said:
SEE THE WELFARE OF THE PLACE IN WHICH YOU LIVE, AND PRAY TO THE LORD ON ITS BEHALF, FOR IN ITS WELFARE YOU WILL FIND YOUR WELFARE.
Just in case you don't totally understand this passage, let me explain it for you and share some of my thoughts. Since 7 is a lucky number, I am going to tell you 7 things about this passage.
But before that, I want you to open your bedroom window! Now why on earth do I want you to do that? Well, I want to set the right tone. I want you to open your window and imagine yourself listening to the world and every person in it. What would you hear?
Thank God—literally—you would hear a ton of great stuff. You would hear Niagra Falls splashing down at 400,000 gallons per second. You would smile as you hear Mozart or Kenny Chesney on a CD. You would hear grandparents chatting on their front porches and bragging about their grandchildren. You would hear couples laughing and people screaming in delight on the late-night rollercoaster ride at Coney Island.
Of course, there's worse stuff to hear than that, but you'd hear all that and way more as you listened from your bedroom window. We'll get to the bad stuff in a moment, but part of what the world needs from you is for you to:
- Share its joy.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice (St. Paul).
- Be the biggest ray of sunshine you can be.
Why do we need you to do this? Because we need one another in our joy as much as we do in our sorrow.
So, if you open up your bedroom window and listen, you would hear that there's a party going on. To set the tone, we're sort of saying, "Don't be a party pooper! Be a ray of sunshine! Delight in other's joy, and don't let people be lonely in their good times!" That is one clear and good way to seek the welfare of the world. The world needs you to be a party enhancer.
That reminds me of my new theory. My new theory does not forget my old theory that people have plenty of reasons to:
- Moan and groan
- Be bitter and miserabl
But here's my new theory: If you have reason to complain and whine, you must realize two crucial things:
- Complaining and moaning can take on lives of their own and become habit-forming.
- Every minute you spend complaining is one minute you did not spend fixing your life to make it better
These two points are worth a minute more of your time. As most of you who read these pages know, I am a psychotherapist who does a great deal of counseling every week. I can certify to you that people have many profound reasons to be miserable and most of the time it is not their fault!
I can, however, certify to you that living well is the best revenge. I know it feels good to mull over how bad your childhood was or how unfair your boss is. I know we take a secret delight in letting our enemies have it in our minds! But… (truly, truly, truly—hear me on this one):
The more time you spend focusing on your miseries, the bigger your miseries will get.