So, not long after posting my entry on anger this morning, I was walking outside and noticed a small SUV. It's the kind with the spare tire mounted on the back, and a cover over the tire. And, the owner had something painted on the cover - kind of a mega-bumper sticker. I've seen this car dozens of times, but it never really struck me. The slogan read, quite simply, "Life is Good."
There are definitely some people in the world, many people, for whom life truly is not good. There are quite possibly some people reading this blog for whom life is not good. And, this isn't meant to trivialize their struggles. But, for most of us, life is actually pretty good. Even in this terrible economy, with swine flu breaking out, making many of us wonder if real trouble is just around the corner*, most of us live lives which, compared to people in most times and places, are exceptional.
* as an aside, if you haven't heard, there are those in Israel's Ultra-Orthodox community who are against calling it "swine flu," because pigs aren't kosher. You know, I try to be open-minded about people from other segments of Judaism, as well as other religions. But, sometimes, they really test me on that...
Is my life perfect? Far from it. I can name any number of things which I wish were better in my life. But, I have an incredible family, a job which I love (even on days when it drives me crazy), only minor health issues (again, not to whine, but if there truly is an Intelligent Designer who is literally the Author of all creation, can someone explain Plantar Fasciitis and its purpose in the world?), food on my table every day, a roof over my head and so on and so on. Basically, if you want a status report on my life, you can just check out that SUV: Life is Good.
The Rabbis of old mandated that a person must say 100 blessings every day. Why? Is it to appease God, who is so shallow that (S)He needs constant thanking? No. It's a discipline for us. It's a challenge: to find 100 things every day which are worthy of a blessing, worthy of thanking God for them. The Rabbis came up with an elaborate system for those blessings, to make sure that the right blessing was said for the right occasion, and it's worth learning. But, for now, make it easy on yourself. Focus on that core idea of being aware of how many good things we have in life, and set yourself a challenge. Tomorrow, see if you can get to 100. Every time you come across something good in your life, simply say, "Thank you God for x," and then go about your day.
Most of us, I think, will be surprised at how good life really is.