Calm or Calamity-Where’s Your Focus?

Since the onset of the recent pandemic we decided to take advantage of discounted AIRBNB homes and spent our weekends traveling.  Instead of sitting home with little to do, we hiked through Sedona, rented a cabin in Zion, toured Bryce Canyon and lounged around a pool in Lake Havasu.  On a recent flight I experienced a phenomenon that was a first for me.  It appears our flight path was right on the leading edge of a storm front.  Looking out one side of the plane, all I could see were dark storm clouds.  However if I looked out the opposite side of the plane, I saw clear blue sunny skies, not a cloud anywhere.  Of course my immediate thought was new blog material.  But seriously, a lesson on focus and perspective was being played out right before my eyes.  It was either a beautiful sunny day, or a dismal stormy day, solely dependent on which way I chose to look. Life is comprised of this very same focus each day.

So far the year 2020 has been one for the books, and it’s only half over.  The coronavirus pandemic has impacted so many lives and many have tragically lost their battle against this disease.  Many small businesses may never open again, family budgets have been stretched beyond the level of income lost due to unemployment.  And while loss of life is an undeniable tragedy, there is good to focus on.  We have become a much more sanitary society capable of fighting off future waves or mutations of this virus.  We have been forced to do things as families.  We have used our resources to feed those who couldn’t feed themselves.  We have witnessed our neighbors stepping up to care for each other.  We will be better prepared with hospital staffing and necessary medical equipment to battle any future outbreaks.  We have learned to do church outside the walls of any traditional building.

More recently, we have witnessed first hand the inequality once again of certain policing agencies resulting in trial by cop on the streets of Minnesota.  We have watched in awe and anger as peaceful protests were hijacked by anti-establishment factions bent on causing division by looting, burning down businesses, attacks against innocent bystanders and even fatalities in response to these heinous acts being filmed now with more frequency.  And as with the pandemic, any loss of life is tragic, however there is good to be found depending on your focus.  Blacks and whites in many communities are coming together in prayer and support and solidarity to create change.  Legislation is being discussed at high official levels in an effort to curtail rogue policing and overhaul outdated law enforcement procedures which lead to the inequality of application we see on our streets. Foundations are being formed to encourage voter enrollment to bring change through balloting.  The tragic death of a black man over $20 has lead to a worldwide acknowledgement that existing racial biases need to be admitted to and addressed once and for all.

In every dire situation there is a choice to be made.  Do we look out the window where only storm clouds exist, or do we focus on the window with blue skies and a sunny outlook?  The suggestion here is not to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the world around us, but rather to find the positive in any situation, no matter how grave it may appear to others.  Do we see a pandemic that cost many lives or do we see aa cleaner, healthier way of living for our children in the future?  Do we see another black man lose his life at the hands of rogue cops or do we see for once a real opportunity to engage in dialogue that evens the playing field going forward so that all people feel equal in the sight of law enforcement?  Do we look at lost income and mounting bills due to being out of work or do we focus on the time we got to spend with family that may never happen with our usual daily work schedules?  Do we look at the decrease in our stock portfolios or do we see the opportunity to buy high-end stocks at discount prices and ride the surge when they come back up to previous levels?  Do we bemoan the doctor reports that tell us our lives and health are about to change or do we appreciate the fact that we will still be able to live out our lives and see our children and grandchildren?

It is a lesson I continually have to learn.  Perspective is everything!  It really is true what is said, that life is 5% of those things that happen to you and 95% of how you respond to them.  We are living in an ever-changing world.  We all have a choice of seeing clear skies or storm clouds.  It’s all a matter of your focus.  If you are one who can’t see sunny skies, then at least try to find a way to appreciate the shade storm clouds provide!

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