Beth's Ponderings I am a wee bit behind - okay, a year behind - on reading some of my magazines so I’ve been doing a marathon reading session to catch up. One thing that I read recently pertained to how we compare attendance and participation nowadays in churches, clubs/organizations, schools, sports/recreation and more to the numbers we had in the 1950s and 1960s. The trouble is that the Baby Boom heyday of the 1950s and 1960s wasn’t a “normal” period of time. It was, as one author referred to it, a “blip” in the historical record. Population numbers (by age groupings) weren’t that high before, and won’t be that high again, unless we have a world event leading to another massive baby boom. Thus, we can’t even expect to see the same level of participation, as there just isn’t the numbers - in particular age groupings - to make it possible. And while it is true that the Boomers have, and will continue to have, an effect on our institutions and will be impacting wide-scale decisions for years to come, they aren’t the only ones we need to cater to in society. Basing everything strictly on their numbers - past or present - won’t benefit us at all as they are the “blip” in statistics. The same is true of our economy. Sorry, but $100+/barrel of oil is not normal, nor is it realistic or sustainable. It too is just a blip. Governments, businesses, and families need to stop making their decisions based on the day oil goes back to this level. Now, if they based their decisions on the real normal - which is closer to $20/barrel - then maybe we’d all have a better chance. By basing our decisions on historical “blips” we create unrealistic expectations for our lives, and stress when the expectations fall apart. Humans have short memories, and we can get acclimatized to any situation in very short time. Thus, it is all to easy to forget that the really good situations aren’t any more normal, than the really bad situations. Normal consists in a blend of what we call good experiences and not-so-good experiences. Not too much of one, or the other.
Beth's Ponderings Hold out your hand in front of you and take a really good look at it. The back, as well as the palm, all your fingers and your wrist. Now, if you are like most people, your first thoughts, or impressions, as you did that were not about the “appearance” of your hand, but rather how it feels “internally.” Maybe your hand is sore from typing too much, or maybe you have arthritis and the changing season has been doing a real number on your joints, or maybe you notice your finger is sore from a too-tight ring. Maybe your hand is cold, or conversely hot. Only after we get through our thoughts on how our hand feels, do we start to see it. Which leads to another whole set of judgements. Maybe your fingers are nicked and cut, maybe you are missing a finger, maybe you notice some blisters on your palm, or a blemish. Were any of your thoughts about thanking your hands? Really, hands are fascinating in what they are capable of doing. In fact, very rarely are they entirely still during the course of the day as they pick up, put down, touch, push, pull, squeeze, hold, let go, and so much more. Hands are capable not only of holding heavy objects, but light ones too. They can be incredibly gentle or harsh. We’re told not to judge a book by its cover, yet we all do, and we can’t help it as we judge absolutely everything around us. That is because we live, and view, our lives from the inside. Even when we look in a mirror, or at our hand, we don’t see ourselves as others do, but as we “feel” inside. However, when we look out, all we see is the “cover” of whatever, or whomever, is around us. We experience our “content” and thus assume that the covers we see are in fact others’ content, but they aren’t. Recently I took a short video of my niece jumping in our compost bin to compact the contents, and I was also in the video as I was holding her hands. It was interesting to watch the video and “see” myself in a manner that I never get to see. For a brief moment I was able to blend my “cover” and my “content” to get a new sense of who I am. Just as a book is more than its cover, so is everything around us.