Tucked into spaces between all the things we must do to have an acceptable life — sleep, eat, work, play, rest, think, decide, and on and on — are all the things we are not obligated to do to have such a minimum existence of survival: watch the news, talk to people, go to movies, click on every link in our email (should we have a computer), help our fellow man, serve our fellow man, love our fellow man.
Those “extras” take time and energy, and sometimes money, and may not even register as things to do in the minds of those barely able to make ends meet. People with a focus on paying the rent ordinarily do not listen to another with much attention, or care about anyone who might even brighten their day.
There are movies and real-life news stories (we’re not obligated to watch) showing the lives of those who are experiencing their “last straw”; it could be as “small” as being bullied, or as vast as losing one’s job, reputation, savings, family and friends. It’s difficult to imagine anyone at their personal bottom responding well to “Have a
If I would ever use that phrase, I wouldn’t be pushing onto others what they might view as phony cheerfulness; I would be genuinely wishing for them to be uplifted and to find some goodness in their day ahead.
Every day there are people being killed — in wars, in situations between real or imagined enemies, in accidents, as a result of neglect, abuse or unfortunate circumstances, or even by one’s own hand. Even as we know Death must come to us all, we also know that it’s not natural to be killed. We do all we can to take care of ourselves and practice safety first — turning off stoves, putting out matches, crossing at the light — but how does one avoid the sudden,unexpected and intended act of another who has murder in his heart?
If we put ourselves into even a could-be dangerous situation — joining the military where as a matter of course we could be involved in war — or if we associate with those known to be aggressive and cruel, those who have no qualms about hurting others to get their own way, we are setting ourselves up for the possibility of someone getting killed.
And if we tempt fate by placing ourselves in a situation where something bad could happen — vacationing in a foreign hot spot, for example, walking down a dark and sinister-looking alley just to save a couple of minutes, or taking a ride with a stranger — we are just contributing to the world of possibilities wherein the outcome might
not be a good one.
Knowing war is going on automatically assumes knowing that people are being killed. Knowing there are terrorist groups operating here and around the world assumes knowing that those groups are terrorizing, torturing and killing people. Knowing there are those who have hate firmly planted in their hearts toward those of another race guarantees that when the opportunity comes around, the one with hate in his heart will kill someone, if only for the flimsiest of reasons totally grounded in hate.
We cannot escape the reality of what is happening here and around the world, whether because of hate, desire for power, or misunderstandings, but we can to some degree create a bubble of safety, peace and love (which my children refer to as the “daisy zone”) by employing the simple rules of safety first, not contending with our friends or enemies, and interacting with others from our best selves.
When we think about all we have, thank God for our blessings, consciously take care of ourselves and care about every human human as another child of God, we can create that so-called “daisy zone” around us. No, we cannot ward off every conceivable ill-spirited person intent on hurting us, but we can more easily reinforce that bubble of protection in our daisy zone and not wave a red flag in front of those who would hurt us if given the chance. And we can wish for others the same kind of goodness in their day that we are wishing into our own day.
We can also evaluate our particular place in this life. Not everyone is called to be a leader of men or of nations, and not everyone is called to have the great ideas that can change the trajectory path of more death, devastation, and destruction. If, however, we feel we can do something, we must find the courage to do it. If we feel we can change something for the better, we must be brave enough to take a stand. If all we can do is make our own little corner of the world better by appreciating others, loving and serving others, then so be it. Such a loving approach precludes sending out messages of hate and fear, leading to more violence wherever one goes.
Reality is what it is. Some see the worst of it and some don’t see it at all. Yet we can create the reality we want by following the golden rule.
Yes, it sounds like I live in La-la Land, but I can do everything I have to do and still have a good day!
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.