Falling into Good Habits

The name itself comes from the fact that the leaves fall from our trees.  Wow … one more year is about to end, and we thought we were finally done with COVID!  Who would have believed that we are still being impacted by this after almost two years?  This is wearing on everyone in our community and has done so much damage it’s hard to comprehend.

So, when we think of the season of Fall, some become understandably depressed.  We remember how to set our clocks with another negative connotation.  In the spring we set them forward and it the fall we set them backward.  Backward sounds negative, and even the word Fall sounds less than optimistic.  On a positive note, we need to remind ourselves that we gain an hour at this time of the year!  I really like that because I read an article that eating hot dogs took an hour off my life.  You know what?  I really enjoyed that hot dog and I am OK with debiting my life one hour.

Maybe we need a new name for the season … calling it windfall since the winds pick up at this time of the year.  I don’t have the answer here, but I do have an illustration for those of you who want to call things what they are.  Life insurance was originally called what it is … death insurance.  But they couldn’t sell it when they called it what it was.  So, they switched the word and meaning on its head and called it what it wasn’t but in fact what people wanted to buy.

Of course, we are not selling this season for any reason are we?  Perhaps we need to market this season for what it truly is: wonderful!  This is one of the prettiest times of the year here in Atlanta.  The weather is once again mild, the mornings are crisp, and we still have flowers blooming.  We can sit outside most days and enjoy the gentle weather and the first signs of the leaves turning beautiful colors.  It is a glorious time of the year.  Let’s celebrate that!

My Jewish roots remind me of the wise sayings I grew up with about how to think about our lives.  While it might be considered terrible theology, it does help.  I was taught not to complain to God about anything in my life.  My rabbi said if you complain to God he will say: “Oh, you think that’s bad?  Let me show you what bad is!”  I was told, by contrast, we should give thanks no matter how bad things were because God would say: “Oh, you think that’s good?  Let me show you want good really is!”   As I said, this might be bad theology.

Or is it?  My medical friends all tell me that a positive attitude is essential to good health and that despite the best medical treatments a bad attitude can literally kill you.  Then, we should have a thankful attitude, no matter what our circumstances are. But what does it take to do that?

I observe that we allow way too many things into our lives and beings that simply do not help.  I stopped watching TV years ago because I found most of it far from uplifting.  I have chosen now to go back to that strange thing that sits on our shelves that does not need a battery to operate … books.  Read a good book or two.  Trust me, you can still do it.  Turn the TV off and read without any background noise.  Let your mind and heart escape to the world described by that author.  If you have a book you read once before a while back, read it again.  You will find different things hit you upon another reading.

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