When I envision my Facebook page, I want my wall to be a beautiful garden replete with renewed acquaintances, pictures of happy babies and fulfilling vacations. Somewhere along the way however, some of my acquaintances have turned my Facebook thread into a train wreck. As I scroll through posts, my wall has become a land mine. One moment a cute little puppy, the next a bloated baby on I’V’s. Shortly thereafter up pops a cute cartoon, then immediately following that, an abused canine that looks like it’s been put through a cheese grater. Amidst the garish crime scenes and mayhem, I am jerked yet again by friends who want me to read their scriptures and sermon soundbites. The caveat to all this is a caption that reads, “say a prayer or you are heartless”. My Facebook wall most days is the equivalent of a crime scene in a church without the full body chalk line.
Houses of Worship across America have a little thing they do each week. They ask the church family to share any praise or prayer requests before the corporate prayer time. Each week without fail, most congregants forget their praises and go directly into their organ recitals; this organ hurts and that organ hurts. If that isn’t bad enough, some “well meaning” saints want to do a play by play on how bad someone’s health condition really is. No, I don’t want to know how inflamed Sister Smith’s carbuncle is. Generally, after such a report, the reverent mood is lost. I can’t substantiate that God likes baseball, unless you can count the Padre’s or the Angels, but He surely doesn’t need color commentary before we bow our heads. I don’t need to see a mangled anything to make me pray.
I long for the old movies where if something bad was to happen, the camera would pan away and all you’d hear is a muffled scream or the sound of a gun and you’d guess the outcome. I am not callous to the pain of this world, but can’t we look more upward than downward? Can’t we see more laughter than tears?
The Apostle Paul never had Facebook page, but if he did, I’m confident his wise counsel in Philippians 4:8 would still apply. He wrote, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Despite the state of the world, I choose to be an optimist. I want to make a point of seeing the best in the world. A pessimist on the other hand sees only the worst. The following story reflects the myriad amount of people that are in my life and on my Facebook wall.
An avid duck hunter was in the market for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could actually walk on water to retrieve a duck. Shocked by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him.
He decided to try to break the news to a friend of his, a pessimist by nature, and invited him to hunt with him and his new dog.
As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by. they fired, and a duck fell. The dog responded and jumped into the water. The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet. This continued all day long; each time a duck fell, the dog walked across the surface of the water to retrieve it.
The pessimist watched carefully, saw everything, but did not say a single word.
On the drive home the hunter asked his friend, “Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?”
“I sure did,” responded the pessimist. “Your dog can’t swim!”
This week exercise optimism. If you are melancholy, then stop by my house at the end of the month and help me balance my checkbook. We’ll set aside one day to cry together.