There is a poster on my wall. It is titled: "everybody knows... SHIT HAPPENS". Under the huge title is a two-column list of -isms followed by their respective definitions. I like this poster for a few reasons. It's funny. It makes fun of most major belief systems, with an unbiased attitude. And last, but certainly not least - it's accurate.
A few examples:
Atheism: "I don't believe this s***"
Feminism: "Men are s***"
Amish: "Modern s*** is useless"
Cynicism: "We are all full of s***"
And so on. It covers Baptism, Televangelism, Capitalism, Voodoo, Disneyism ("Bad s*** doesn't happen here"), Surrealism ("Fish happens"), and Freud. Just about everything is up there. My personal favorite, though, happens to be Americanism: "Who gives a shit?"
The problem is that the poster is absolutely dead-on. Americans really do have that kind of attitude, as do many other people in the world. And I do give a shit. I care a heck of a lot about things that most people would shrug off. I keep the poster above my computer not only to remind me that (to quote the Politically Correct) "internally processed, nutritionally-drained biological output" happens, but also to prove the point that most people don't care about its happening. It makes me mad, but it also inspires me to get other people mad... to make them sit up and take notice of what's going on, and to get them to make things better. Some day I want to be able to take that poster down, because Shit won't be happening.
At work, there are a lot of older people who have permanent spots as kind of pseudo-managers. They work full time and know everything, and they're very nice to the student workers. One of them, Andy, is getting up there in years, but still comes in to do dishes all day long. I was taking out the garbage a few days ago and he was on break, and as I headed back inside, he pulled a little wooden object out of his pocket and showed it to me. "Know what this is?" he asked.
"Yep. It's a top."
"What color is it?"
"Red and white." (It was painted, half and half)
He spun it. "But if you spin it..."
"Pink!" I exclaimed, because it turns a lovely shade of pink when spun.
He gave it to me. Keep it, he said, and told me something about the man who made them.
The old man who makes these tops was in an accident and broke his neck. He still makes these little wooden tops, hand paints them, and sends them out to people. Apparently he'll give 400 or so to mission groups when he can.
They're nothing special, these little tops. They're small dowels pushed through a round wooden block, painted in two colors. And yet there's something unique about them. It's the knowledge that someone put time and love into these, gave them a purpose and a reason for being.
I think everything takes on a certain quality when it has been loved - even people. When we realize we are loved and that part of our reason for being is because of love, we glow a little too.
The world is a bipolar place. Some of the most awe-inspiring things in the entire universe exist in this tiny speck of space. Unfortunately, some of the most devastating things are right here as well. Seeing the way the earth looks now, I can't imagine how much more beautiful it was before we started to destroy it. And yet I am grateful we've preserved as much as we have, because I also can't imagine what it will look like if we continue to abuse it. Looking at the children today I'm glad we're raising a new generation to provide hope for the future. Looking closer I'm appalled by their lack of respect for anything around them, and their lack of good education. "The optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears he is right." I don't know who said that first, but it's pretty accurate.
I guess we have to take the bad with the good - if you put all the 'bad' in one hemisphere and all the 'good' in another, it would blur with the earth's rotation anyway - it would be grey. The question is how dark that grey will be. Will it be the dark grey of a thunderhead, or the light grey of the mist over a warm lake on a summer morning? It's up to us to choose our color. I'd like a lighter shade - they look better on me.