Sufficient to the day, are the evils thereof… so said Jesus. He didn’t pad his worries with what might be, or what had come before. Those people with focus and a clean conscience sleep well at night.
Focus is something you learn, entering into a task that requires prolonged concentration. A recent article about house painting, pointed out that the best painters think only about the one yard space in front of their eyeballs. The rest of the world disappears while they concentrate. It’s learning to let go while you get something done. The opposite to this mindset, is to be overwhelmed with worry about side issues that do not impact the present task.
My maternal grandfather died of an ulcer. I never thought about that much until I was an adult and had adult-sized problems. His life was consumed by the worries of his times; the Great Depression, and World War. Dwelling on those things he could not change killed him.
Kids always seem to have problems that are larger than life. Becoming an adult, you realize there is always a bill to pay, something that needs doing, and always a problem to fix. It’s the reality of complexity. As you age your life becomes more complex. The payoff, is that you grow more capable of both accepting this, and dealing with the complexities. One thing you will surely realize along the way, is that you cannot fix everything. Some things are simply too big, or out of reach.
When life is out of control, it pays off to shorten the frame of reference. Can’t predict the year? How about the month, or the week? If you are in truly dire times, it’s best to live a day at a time and focus on the little things within reach that you CAN do.
Why do I say all this? We are still in lockdown over COVID. It seems like it has been forever, and it cuts down on where you can go, who you can see, and what you can do with your day. It is very frustrating, and it puts the future in question. It is also affecting the mental health of a lot of people. The newspaper just noted that cannabis use is on the rise, as a coping mechanism. It reminds me of a story someone told me about visiting a psychiatrist. The shrink told him to beat a pillow and call out the names of everyone he was mad at. He left and never went back, and I can see why. Like cannabis, beating a pillow did nothing to address real problems. Me, I prefer to do something concrete even if it seems inconsequential.
My current sanity-saver has been to rebuild a kitchen cabinet. The granite man misfired and cut an angle about ten degrees off what was beneath, then left. Every time I passed by this cabinet, I had to look at this shoddy work. This weekend I rebuilt the cabinet underneath to match the angle of his bad cut. No one really used that area as a desk; it tended to collect clutter, so I reconfigured the dead space as a cabinet with drawers. Fixing all this makes me wonder how the workman could do something which made the world WORSE, and be OK with that. It’s a weird injustice that leaves me to fix the mess he left behind.
And that is what adults do. We fix what we can, and leave the rest. It’s about the best we can manage, and I guess God will have to fill in the blanks. Fixing something small within my reach helps me know that I did at least SOMETHING to make the world just a little better.
I am reminded that Jesus was a carpenter. His fixes dealt with the real world. Yes, sufficient to the day are the evils thereof. And sometimes you have to just smile, and hit those evils with a hammer.