What’s the Problem? … May 9, 2012

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 It never works. It just doesn’t. 

I know I’m not supposed to say “never” but sometimes, if you don’t use the word “never,” you will foolishly continue to pursue avenues that cause you to slide off the road and fall into the ditch of dopiness. 

What never works? You come upon a person, or even a group of people, who are disgruntled, and ask them the question, “What’s the problem?” 

No problem in life is ever solved from a position of superiority, fear or dissatisfaction. Somewhere along the line, we have to relent to the notion that our dreams are not fast-food from McDonald’s, where we roll up, place an order and pick it up in less than a hundred and twenty seconds. 

Life is not difficult—it’s just life. It contains rules and regulations, which are frequently changed—refreshed, if you will—just to make sure that the participants are paying attention. But people become disgruntled because they feel that somehow they’ve been “dissed” and they’d like to grunt at you about it. 

You see why I say it never works? Because life doesn’t “diss” anyone, and there is no one willing to listen to perpetual complaining from another human being. What we all admire are humans who suffer quietly while they actively plan their next adventure. Now, we don’t admire it enough to actually imitate it, but we do understand the power of such a profile. 

This is why politics doesn’t work. By the time politicians and law-makers get together to try to resolve a conflict, the public is so frustrated by the situation that every overture towards solution is dashed on the rocks of cynicism. And then it becomes more entertaining to complain than it does to refrain from the insane. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that much of the humor in our country is merely disgruntled grumbling, which the audience nervously laughs at because there seems to be no reprieve. 

What is the answer to the economy? I hear people in a disgruntled way articulating on the elements of the situation, but no one really takes a great stab in the dark at a possible plan of action.

We have the same problem in religion. I’ve listened to countless ministers lament that numbers are dwindling—but I hear no ideas. The original purveyor of our message, Jesus, didn’t seem to have much problem drawing people to himself. No one knew he was divine—they just liked him. Does the world like the church? Does the world like politicians? 

The problem is not that we have a problem, but instead, that we are beginning to address the problem after we’re already disgruntled about it. It stymies us. And, returning to my original theme—it never works.

So I’ve decided to contribute my little portion towards the formulation of a new attitude in our world. Here’s my contribution:  I’m going to keep from being disgruntled so that I can articulate my feelings more clearly about what I desire, pray my prayers with more intelligence, and be available to enact the next good idea without negativity. To do that, I have to realize four principles about this thing called life:

1. It’s not limited. Most of the time we feel like we’re in a box that’s closing in around us. The box is our finance, which we believe is continually dwindling. The box is our talent, which we contend was too small to begin with. The box is the amount of love we receive, which we fear is uncertain. Once you believe life is limited, you start rationing, withholding, cheating and even lying. It may be difficult to allow yourself to expand your thinking to the notion that there are resources yet uncovered which can benefit your soul, yet without that boost of energy you will become exhausted every time a problem dares to lift its ugly face to stare at you.

2. Life is not for us or against us. The best way to describe life is that it shows up in the morning at work, punches the clock, does its job and then goes home at the end of the day. It has one purpose—to keep things as even and level as possible, so that every human being has the potential for success and the opportunity for failure. Trouble ensued when you believe that God is for you and the devil is against you, or the Republicans or Democrats are for you and that other group over there is against you. There is no bogey man, just creaky floorboards and dark closets.

3. Life is not sympathetic. I have stood by the side of the road staring at a flat tire for at least five minutes, wondering why the depleted rubber circle that is now completely “smushed down” will not rise up and improve its situation and bless me. I could have checked my tires. That would have helped. I could have noticed that my tires were going bald. Ingenious. So my flat tire feels no sympathy towards me whatsoever, no matter how many times I kick it, curse it or glare at it. Mercy is given to the merciful. What does that mean? To be merciful to someone else means that you are aware that life is not sympathetic—and therefore, it is your job to be so. That sensibility invigorates your entire being. It helps you in your own life—to be aware of upcoming problems. Life is not sympathetic.

4. But finally, life is not impossible. Oh, we get grumpy and fussy and insist that no one has ever suffered such slings and arrows. Job just had bad acne; we’ve got real problems. We’re just a bunch of babies who can’t find our pacifiers. I learned a long time ago—nobody I owe money to wants to put me in jail. They just want payments. The thunderstorm is not out to destroy my plans—just water the earth. And evil is not meeting in a board room somewhere, plotting the demise of all that’s good. Rather, evil occasionally books a room for the night in my heart and tries to trash the location like some traveling rock band. Yes, I am my own worst enemy, because I always give up one idea short of God’s plan to save me.

Nothing is impossible. It just takes time—and a belief that we are not limited, nothing is for us or against us, but sympathy is not available—only opportunity.

So the next time you are tempted to ask, “What’s the problem?” understand that if someone is not asking you for assistance, they are probably not ready to receive it. Instead, they are in that no man’s land, where complaining sounds like righteous rhetoric.

We can do this. We can solve all the problems in this country as soon as some brave leadership steps forward and soothes the common mania that has transformed us into disgruntled gripers. Once we do that, we will gain the faith that we are not limited, life is not for us or against us, nor is it sympathetic, but always prepared to respond to those who believe that nothing is impossible. 

  

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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