Learn To Enjoy Today
Can reading comic strips solve any of our ‘life problems’? Wouldn’t that be nice? Instead of reading this blog, buying the latest self-help book on the 10 ways not to suck, or spending gobs of money on therapy (I hope I am not writing us out of business), all we had to do is just ponder a comic strip and apply the lesson to our lives. Simple. Pleasant. Easy. Right?
Well, perhaps not for all of us. Some of us are just not that sharp. While others of us need a listening ear or someone to help guild our thought patterns. Still others just need a kick in the butt or someone to confront them. So maybe our business is not endangered after all?
Nevertheless, I do think some comic strips offer a lot of advice on how to live. Comedy has a way of reflecting upon life and pointing out the obvious in an absurd sort of way. It can make the seriousness of life a lighter load to carry. It has an ability to remind of us of simple truths that we have forgotten. Of course, all good things can be corrupted, and I am of the opinion that much of comedy today is rather pubescent. It need not be.
Charles Schulz’ Peanuts is an example of uncorrupted comedy. In one strip, Sally Brown gives a report on how to live. She says,
THEY SAY THE BEST WAY IS JUST TO LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME . . .
IF YOU TRY AND LIVE SEVEN DAYS AT A TIME, THE WEEK WILL BE OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT . . .
Sally’s ‘life philosophy’ is simple, but profound. Almost all wisdom is simply but profound. That’s what irks us about it.
On the one hand, the truth is obvious: Learn to enjoy the goods of today. You’re spoiling life because you are so focused on ‘getting things done’. You are so anxious about your kids being able to achieve X or Y that you have forgotten the simply joy of just seeing them play. You’re so anxious about your job and making money that you have forgotten about your family and friends. You’re always living in future goals so you never pause to give thanks for the goals that have been meet. You’re trying to solve all your marriage problems at once so it seems like your marriage has not improved. When in reality, if you would just pause and reflect, you would see the many improvements, plus the many goods you and your spouse already possess—namely each other and your kids—if you have them.
On the other hand, this simple wisdom is hard to apply in life. It’s hard because we have bad habits we staunchly cling to. There’s a side to us that really wants to change, but, then again, there’s the ‘other side’ that so often wins by rationalizing the wisdom away: ‘Perhaps if I work 100 hours a week for 10 years then I will have the enough money so I can spend all my time with family.’ Not likely.
The key to overcoming this ‘life paradox,’ despite the many times of failure, is to have a humble heart that continually submits to true wisdom each day. Don’t let despair rob you of seeing the goods this day. Stop trying to live seven days at a time. Slow down and be thankful for the goods you have. There’s nothing wrong with having goals and trying to achieve them. Just don’t let those goals and plans prevent you from living now. Many of you have a wife or a husband, sons and/or daughters, and many friends who would love just to be with you today. But more than any of these relationships, our Creator would love for you to acknowledge Him and give thanks now. Your life will be over before you know it, don’t miss your opportunity now to truly seeing life’s goods.
Brandon Wall is a counselor in Cedar Rapids, Iowa: http://www.cedarrapidscounselingcenter.com/
Dr. Bing Wall is a therapist specializing in marriage and relationships and issues facing single adults with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa. To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473. For more information about Dr. Wall click here.