In today’s world of constant craziness, I pondered on a few things that would be nice if they somehow magically happened.
The late great Kurt Vonnegut once relayed a story about appreciating the little things in life saying, “One of the things [Uncle Alex] found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. He himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, ‘If this isn’t nice, what is?’”
It’s a wonderful story that today would be almost impossible as we would muck the whole thing up by having to pose the lemonade in just the right way by the tree and get Uncle Alex to sit a certain way to memorialize it for Instagram, oh and then add stupid effects. Or, poor Uncle Alex would utter such fine words of wisdom that would go unheard as everyone else would be staring at their phones.
So, wouldn’t it be nice if, in such moments, we committed to fully existing in those moments, adding them to our experiential memories instead of our social media feeds?
Wouldn’t be nice if politicians managed to speak in real language instead of parroting soundbites over and over and over again, and never giving straightforward answers to straightforward questions? It reminds me of the Gore, Quayle, Stockdale Vice Presidential debate in 1992 when Gore and Quayle continued to dance around the abortion rights question and Stockdale simply said, “I believe a woman owns her body and what she does with it is her own business. Period.” When asked if he would like to elaborate as he had more allotted time, he simply replied, no.
And, wouldn’t it be nice if we were all not so outraged about everything all the time? It really detracts from those moments when true outrage is called for. How about we put down the worthless social media tools that make us feel good about supposedly sounding off on how bad everyone and everything is and find someone to have a real conversation with or spend time helping someone or some worthwhile organization in need.
And, wouldn’t it be nice if we devoted time to learning about other’s beliefs or other cultures and achieved a better understanding of the way others live? Maybe, just maybe, if we did, there would be a little less violence and hatred in the world.
My parents (who happened to be Christians), loved to get to know others from any and all cultures, religions or walks of life, even in their final years with failing health. A few years before they passed away, some new neighbors moved in on their street that happened to be Muslim immigrants. They became fast friends and spent hours every week visiting each other, learning from each other and just talking about pretty much any subject under the sun. I think they favored tea and water over lemonade, but still, if that isn’t nice, then what is?