The Problem with No Problem

Most of us grow up having drilled into our heads the words “please”, and “thank you”. We were reminded or scolded should these important words not be heard from our lips in the appropriate situation. While some traditions change over time, it seems the concept of manners and certain etiquette are still socially accepted and taught. We learn other things as well, like the valuable lesson from Thumper, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”, and the idea that a compliment and/or a smile can brighten someone’s day. We learn the importance of generosity, patience, and kindness. We learn that it feels good to help someone. We learn so much as to how we ought to behave, not merely because it is what we are told to do, but because it feels good to do so.
I say “we” a lot.
I wish this was the case. I wish some of these values and manners and such, were woven into our very beings. Sadly, some of us are painfully aware of how far from the truth this is. We see fellows cursing in front of young children; angry customers reaming out the cashier-in-training; people ignoring the shopper who dropped his/her groceries on the pavement; people sneering and loudly vocalizing opinions on raising a child when they come across one having a fit. We live in a world of a superior “Me“; We can say whatever we dang well please; we yell and demand and have come to realize that half of the continent is completely incompetent.
We are inherently self-centered, selfish beings. Even the compliments we give aren’t accredited to the person we are complimenting, but rather, our own stamp of approval. “ I love your shirt!”
Jumping back to the “thank you” thing too; it seems “you’re welcome” has been replaced with “No problem”.  (or “Yup”,; “You betcha”). The problem with “No problem”? It kind of translates to, “It’s okay, you didn’t inconvenience me“. Maybe that works in some situations, but perhaps not all. I am terribly guilty of this; at work especially, where I frequently reply to thank you with “Yup!” Perhaps it is a cultural thing, but lets not completely butcher the English language. ( We’ll save that for social media ;))
Let’s try to be good people; to say please and thank you and you’re welcome. Let us be slow to anger, slow to judge, quick to help out. And may we do things not because it is expected of us, but – as mentioned previously – because it feels good and right to do so.


Clovers and Shooting Stars

I’m not really a superstitious person. Wasn’t in my younger years either. I didn’t feel threatened by black cats; ( Actually, in fact, I felt threatened by ALL cats) I had no problem walking under a ladder if I needed to fetch something, etc. But I did however, believe in wishes.
If I spotted a shooting star, I’d make
a wish. Find a four leaf clover,
make a wish. Perhaps it was the the rarity of these beautiful things, that had me convinced that they possessed the magic –  the   power to make  my  small dreams come true.
Isn’t that what most children want to believe? That the unexpected can come true?
That there is hope in dreaming their dreams, wishing their wishes?

I remember a sunny spring day. I was with my younger brother. I remember a large green field of freshly mowed grass and little white flowers.
And little green clovers.
Hundreds of them. Patches of them. Everywhere you looked.
As I was in the habit of doing at that age, I crouched down just to see if I could find that one 4-leaf clover.
And in time, there was revealed not one 4 leaf clover.
Not two.
Not a few.
But dozens of them! And there were 5- leafed clovers too! Oh, the excitement that swelled within me. I could make so many wishes! What would I wish for? Goodness, I didn’t even know what to wish for with one 4-leaf clover, nevermind dozens!

But my memory goes blank. I don’t recall what happened next. I don’t remember if I started collecting handfuls of these lucky clovers. I don’t remember if I eagerly started making wishes, or what I would have been wishing for. And such a lapse in my memory causes me to wonder…
Was it even real?
As a child, we might selfishly think, more is better. More toys, more ice-cream, more play time, more wishes. Sometimes what we have, we figure is just not quite enough.
Even as an adult, I struggle with wanting more. More sleep, more money, more purpose, more time. And though I have been provided with enough, I keep asking God. Somedays, he has been reduced to a shooting star, or a 4 leaf clover;
“God, could you grant me this?” ” God, could you give me more ____?”
I ask, and wish, and ask; but often out of my own selfishness. Today, as a Friday trend it seems, my energy was low. I was starting to feel a little irritable, and time just wasn’t going by fast enough.
I found myself thinking,  ‘God, I could really use a little more energy right now.’

Have I not provided you with enough already?

The thought threw me right off. Did I just think that last thought? Or did the spirit just whisper to me? I thought about the blessings of the day; the free lunch provided by my work, the generosity of a fellow employee in buying me some juice, etc. These are just a couple small blessings.
God provides, and he provides me with enough.
It’s time I stop hoarding my 4-leafed clovers. When blessed, go forth and bless others! It’s time to realize how much I already have.

Now, if I were to write an epilogue to the clover story…
In that same field, up on a hill, about a decade later, sat a girl and a boy; gazing up into the starry night sky, on a warm August evening. Blissfully hand in hand.
Two days later, he asked her out.
Two years later, he asked for her hand, and year after that, she said I do.
But I can’t help wonder…
Was God giving us a sign? A hint, when he showed us a splendid shooting star, bursting through the night sky? That my husband and I gazed upon, almost 4 years ago now?
And the thought just makes me smile.