I’m feeling chastened to think that maybe my use of salty language is getting out of hand. So I’ve sworn-without-actually-swearing to tone it down a bit and only use words that will make a nun smile.
This new leaf also has me rethinking my attitude about various topics. “Smile and the whole world smiles with you,” an old friend used to say, and I look forward to reconnecting with him on Facebook so I can tell him how that worked out after I grinned at a Neo Confederate who was loudly asserting his belief that the South’s 0-1 wartime record is merely a historical quirk that will be corrected.
In the same manner, I vowed to test drive certain beliefs that haven’t sat well with me, wondering if a change of heart could turn my perpetual frown upside down.
I decided to first confront my fear of notions that “science” tells me are harmful. “Don’t fear gravity,” I said to Dave as I casually pushed him over the third-story railing of a parking garage. I count this experiment as inconclusive thanks to Dave’s inability to form sounds or facial expressions, and thus give me any useful feedback.
Pressing on, I put aside my fear of sharp objects, open electrical sockets and fire. An afternoon of fearless experimentation was painful but showed me that a little scarring is a small price to pay for having an open mind.
Fortified by pain, I sauntered among the many homeless in our community and reminded them that they didn’t have to go hungry if they could only summon up some pluck and expand their understanding of what makes objects “edible.”
But a life well-lived is about more than overcoming fear and helping others beneath us expand their horizons. It’s about seeing the world as a reflection of one’s own untroubled perspective. I’m learning to get there, but in the meantime I’ve covered my windows with plywood and play choral music at high volume to shield me from any ugliness that might come my way.
I’ve got to say it’s working for me. Alone with my happy thoughts, I feel a new peacefulness.