The sink doesn’t drain properly. Our neighbor leaves the garage door open all day. Bananas look as if they have been in the store for weeks. If they don’t hurry up and check in this passenger, I could miss my flight. These are some examples of what I call finding fault in the world around me.
As I think more and more about my observations of the world, I find increasing evidence that I am prone to pointing out flaws in many of the circumstances that surround me. In all fairness, there is a subtle difference between noticing something and finding fault. With respect to the drain, for instance, I could probably make the case for taking the information to motel management in order to effect a correction. Or maybe I was just finding something that I just didn’t like about the room.
While some may say that it’s probably a bit late in my life to make wholesale changes in my attitude, my response is that it’s never too late for improvement. One of my closest friends is someone I had to leave behind when we moved out of Denver. But he is always matter-of-fact about anything negative. He will either not acknowledge it or treat it in the context of a world that is much too rich with advantages to lend the problem any significance.
As I think about this approach, I like it very much. What is accomplished by stating that the garage door is left open all day? Does it improve me or my life? Am I enhanced by not leaving our garage door open? Of course not.
My parents often said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This is truly sage advice. How much richer could my world have been if I had never complained about a job, a boss, a boyfriend, an apartment, a car, or any of life’s other realities. Chances are, no-one ever really wanted to hear about my complaints. And none of them made me any smarter, happier, comfortable, or more secure. So what was the point?
It’s all a matter of thinking before we speak, something I try to do but have not yet mastered. Finding the good in the world is a much better path than finding what’s wrong with it. I’m just sad that it took me this long to come to that realization. Shalom.