I spent a day with my mother yesterday. We had tickets to see a play (a “modern” revival of Oklahoma!, but that’s a whole different story…) in LA. Since my wife is still visiting her family in Tennessee I took my mother, figuring she’d enjoy an old class Rogers & Hammerstein show. The prospect of sitting through a sappy old musical was one thing, but spending a whole day with my mom, trapped in a car for 6 hours is not something that I relish. She is, perhaps, the most negative person I know. She and I are extreme opposites in the way we view the world. One of her superpowers is the ability to get me to get so frustrated that I want to jump from a moving vehicle just to escape her own special brain of insanity!
For the most part, the day went surprisingly well. She was tired on the way down and sat mostly quietly and listened to the radio with me. The play itself, while extremely bizarre, went without incident. By the final half hour of the trip the “real her” caught up with us. We were driving and she noticed a formation of clouds and commented that it looked like two eyes looking down from on high at us. I could see that and said “Yes, it sort of does.” Her next comment was where the crazy hopped in the car.
“Maybe it’s the Devil.”
Wait, what?!? The Devil? I Said that I found that to me a strangely negative outlook on eyes in the sky. I explained that typically people think of God residing in the sky and the Devil being in Hell, you know, underneath us. This was met with incredulity. She did her usual “gotcha” type question and asked “So are you saying that the Devil is bad like, what, 99% of the time?”. I countered that the devil is bad all of the time. 100%. For the next 5 minutes she doubled down on her position that it was unreasonable to expect people to know that the devil has a bad connotation. Rather than argue with her crazy, I decided to just marvel at it.
It occurred to me that no matter how much we seek out the good, the bad might eventually find us. I try to be a person who thinks about things in a positive light. I try to look for the ray of hope rather than the shadow of doom. Hopefully after reading this blog for the past handful of years, that shines through in what I write. So there I was trying to be positive all day long and negative hopped into the car and hollered “Shotgun!”
With our limited time on earth I think it is important to spend as much of it as we can looking for and handing out positive things. In every situation we can try to see the good in it. When my car breaks down and I have to pay a mechanic to fix it I can get mad, or I can be thankful that I have a car to break down and that I get to bless the mechanic’s life with some money. It doesn’t always work like that, but I think you can see the idea here. Even when we are doing our best to stay positive, negative will come knocking. We can’t always avoid it. But to spend time looking for the negative instead of the positive just seems silly to me.
There will be plenty more opportunities for me to experience strange people. There will be plenty of opportunities to see bad revivals of plays. There will be plenty of opportunities for to have to dig through a lot of nonsense to find the gem hiding there. And that means there will be plenty of opportunities for me to…