I am often struck with anxiety by our culture’s “news” organizations – Terrorism is gonna get us. The Cold War is Back. Our airplane will disappear over the ocean or worse, crash into the mountains where we will have to eat the frozen remains of our fellow passengers before we freeze to death the night before a rescue operation arrives.
Also… the bees. BEES! What is going on with you, Bees? Are you trying to kill us Bees or are you all just trying to disappear? WHERE ARE ALL THE BEES and WHAT ARE THEY UP TO!?!?!?!
It’s not just the sensational news stories that get to me either. Facebook. Facebook has a nasty grip on my ego and my self worth. I didn’t get that audition. I didn’t get invited to that event. I don’t own a home. I don’t have kids. Compared to you, I just don’t have enough happiness / smarts / intellect / wit / money / success / friendship / toys / adventure / respect / depth / freedom / joy / strength / maturity / confidence / humility / younameits to survive in this world.
All this stuff is lined up perfectly; stacked against us, like a malicious set of Dominoes. Dominó del diablo!
The Bees are piloting the plane, while we sit alone in coach listening to everyone else live it up behind the little blue first class curtain. To top it all off, there’s a long line for the bathroom and the flight attendant won’t stop giving us the stink eye for accidentally calling her a “stewardess.” How will it all end!?
The good news? It probably won’t all end today; or even tomorrow for that matter. As a matter of fact, when it DOES finally end, it most likely won’t end with bees or planes or terrorists or nukes or asteroids or being left behind during the rapture. The good news is that today, this day, the one we are living right now, will very likely not be the worst day of our lives. Far from it, actually. No, it’s not likely to be the best day either, but the good news is that it really probably won’t be that terrible of a day at all.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the odds of being struck to death with a bolt of lightening is 1 in 126,158. Those are some pretty damned good odds. Especially when it isn’t raining outside. Some people are terrified of dogs. I get it. Dogs are animals and they can, at times, be unpredictable and yes, some folks HAVE been mauled to death by dogs. However, those unfortunate folks were 1 in 122,216 (again, according to the NSC). Guns are scary to me. I’m not going to lie. I hate hearing about the horrors of school shootings and misfired pistols in toddlers hands. It bothers me that “a number of U.S. cities have gun homicide rates in line with the most deadly nations in the world” (The Atlantic, Jan. 2013) But unless I am that unfortunate and unlikely 1 in 7,059 to be killed by a firearm discharge, I’m doing pretty good. If I don’t own a gun and am not living in one of those cities, my odds are probably even better! Sure, 1 in 12,146 people will die of exposure to electric current, radiation, or temperature, but today, right now, on THIS day… most of us probably, will likely not be that 1 person (particularly those of us not working “clean up” at Fukushima). So… that’s a pretty good deal… generally speaking.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the numbers on how many people will likely be licked in the face by a dog today, or how many plants that will find nourishment from a rain, or strangers that will share a nod or a smile in passing today; because those numbers are so big and so vast and so positive that no one is bothering to report them. The truth is… things aren’t. so. bad. They’re pretty good actually. If we were to just take a breath every now and then… just STOP to breathe and enjoy that little moment of life sustaining breath, we might just find that things, right now, in THIS MOMENT, aren’t so terrible. Sure, the average credit card debt for a typical adult American may be $4,878 and our mortgage may be due this week and the IRS just informed us that we owe THOUSANDS more than we expected… but the IRS and the credit card companies are not very likely to be threatening us right now with shards of glass in the hopes that, if we don’t pay up right this minute, we’ll become the 1 in 32,322 that will perish on a sharp object. It’s just not very likely to be the case. Not right now. Not in this minute.
So, since it is not likely that today is going to be the absolute worst day of our lives, perhaps, at the very least, knowing that it won’t likely be the worst day of our lives might just make today a little better than the one we were going to permit ourselves to have in the first place. Maybe with this knowledge we’ll have a little less anxiety or concern taking up room in our hearts and minds. Maybe, with the little extra space and freedom that we have without all that worry, we might be able to learn a stranger’s name or pick up a piece of litter at a bus stop. We might be able to do something with our moderately average to good day. As a result, it might even turn out to be an exceptionally better day, today, than the one we planned. That might be worth something, a small something, but a good something. Just for today. Bees be damned.