MMM note: This isn't a post about basketball - but it will take you have to beat through the basketball to get to my point...
Then came Larry.
Mom adored Larry Bird from the first moment she first laid eyes on him. Why? Because he was cried.
|Bird crying. Completely acceptable.|
His emotion, his drive, and work ethic were part of it, but the thing she focused on was his humility. The contrast between Larry's quiet demeanor and Magic's "flash" were enough to create an in-house Celtic-Laker rivalry between us that lasted for decades. It is true that Bird was a great example of hard work and dedication, and he wasn't flashy. However, I must point out that he was not as perfect as my mom thought.
|Bird trying to kill Dr. J, and vice-versa|
Why the Larry Bird history lesson? Because in a strange twist, my mom rarely watched the Celtic's biggest games, Bird's heroic moments, or his most heartbreaking defeats. Why?
She couldn't bear to watch.
Seriously. Whenever a game got good, she would start getting nervous. The closer it got, the more anxious she would become, until she would eventually leave the room and go find something else to do. We would hear her call us from the her office, or the kitchen asking for a score update. (Remember, in those days there were no DVRs with an inspired "pause" button.)
We would tease her about it, and you all know that teasing an anxiety-ridden mom is not wise, or healthy. Now don't jump on me about this. She didn't have an anxiety disorder per se, but only Larry Bird-related anxiety issues. It would alter her enjoyment of the game, and occasionally the mood of the entire house.
Now that I am older, I have more sympathy for her. I am beginning to see that I may have acquired a little of the Bird Syndrome from her. Genetic? Perhaps. Learned behavior? Maybe. But I have noticed this anxiety more lately than at any other stage in my life. And I know exactly what is causing it:
Yes, the 2012 Presidential Election is destroying my life. I can't wait for it to be over. Over the past year I have watched as my interest in politics has become more of an obsession, and taking more of my life, my time, and my emotions.
And that's not good.
It is good to be involved in the political process - it is our responsibility - but there can be side-effects. At the risk of mockery, I will share some of the negative impacts the election has had on my life.
• I watch too much TV. Way too much. I have gotten to know what the talking heads will say before they say it.
• Wasted brain space. I don't need to know how many early voters there are in Cuyahoga County. Or how many Electoral College electors come from Iowa. But I do.
• I am distracted at work by talk radio. Now you can listen to most any talk radio host you want at any time.
These distractions will end Wednesday. But I have greater concerns about the personal impact the election is having on me.
• I find myself distracted from my family.
• When I drive down the street and see a political sign in my neighbor's yard, I think to myself, "I didn't realize that Ralph is an idiot." Yes, unrighteous judgment is creeping into my thinking.
• I have started making snarky political comments on Facebook, just to create a "disturbance in the force." And I find enjoyment bickering about it.
The single biggest concern:
Am I letting an event such as an election damage me? Am I getting so wrapped up in something that is of no eternal significance interfere with things eternal?
In my anxiety, am I forgetting that the 2nd great commandment is to love my neighbor Am I kind to those I disagree with. Am I charitable to those who contend against me? Do I forgive those that I think are doing damage to our Nation? Am I "checking my religion at the door." (link)
Am I still focused on the "weightier matters of the law? Judgment, mercy and faith." As Neil A. Maxwell once said, "Don't let proximate things maul ultimate things."
When I reflect on what is important, I exhale and remember that in the grand scheme of things, my life will not be impacted by who wins nearly as much as we all feel like it will.
Yes, the election might eventually impact my income, or how much a tank of gas costs. Eventually it might change my tax rates or my health care. Do you see the trend here? All these things are about money and earthly issues.
The President of the United States of America has no power over what goes on within the walls of my home. But I do. Foremost, will I allow the battle for control of an earthly kingdom steal away my happiness? I hope not.
Wednesday morning, I will still get up and read scriptures with my family. We will pray together. The kids will leave for school, I'll go to work, and life will go on as normal. My top priorities in life will be exactly the same as they are today. What God expects of me will not change.
So I need to take a deep breath, put it all in perspective. Come what may, and love it. (link)