In a feel-good, team-building moment at a work meeting this week, the moderator finished by asking each of us around the conference table to share something positive about our recent holiday break.
“I was sick the whole time.”
“I was going to get a new car, but it didn’t work out.”
“I had my teeth deep-cleaned.” (No kidding-shots and everything.)
“My husband was in the hospital.”
This was followed by a listing of non-present co-workers who had met with some type of holiday tragedy.
There were only a dozen of us in the room. Some of the truly positive statements were delivered in a down and deadpan sort of way, almost as if feeling guilty for not having something tragic to share.
Now, to be fair, I have a problem with extending a meeting unnecesarily, so I wasn’t in the best humor either. And I’m a bit old for some of the team building stuff. But I could understand what she was trying to do and I respected the attempt, so I responded, if not enthusiastically, at least positively when it was my turn.
Why is it so hard for us to see a half-full glass? Why are we so much more eager to share the negative? As an audience, why do we gravitate more toward the sad and tragic?
One of the biggest and most disturbing affects of all this is the blanket of hopelessness that drapes over me. A few times a day I click on a news app and scan the headlines. Some of them are “news” just because they’re grisly or shocking or gross. But even the “legitimate” news items are negative or tragic in some way. Every. Single. One. Often, I have an almost physical reaction of doom as I turn off the screen.
My thoughts about my world are more frequently that it’s going to Hell in a handbasket than it’s a wonderful place to be.
I don’t truly believe in ignorant bliss and I know I wouldn’t maintain an extreme resolution such as never reading any news ever. But I do need to temper the incoming downers with some uplifting alternatives.
So I have two new goals this year:
1. God’s Word before the world’s word. I will get a dose of Him through the Bible and/or a devotional before I scan any headlines, Tweets, or posts.
2. Find God every day somewhere in the stuff of my life. Just look for evidence of Him, superimposed like a transparency over the events of my day.
That will most surely lift that wet blanket of hopelessness, but will it make me a pie-in-the-sky Pollyanna wannabe? Finding good and speaking positively? Building up when others are tearing down?
Oh gee, I sure hope so.