If you live in an area which has snow storms during the winter, chances are you are familiar with the unexpected treat of a storm day. For the most part these are only a boon for school students and teachers as technically they are caused by it being unsafe to have the buses on the roads.
If this is all sounding familiar to you, then you may also be aware of some of the superstitions that go along with the forecast of a storm. When the radio first forecasts any amount of snow hopes begin to rise, and when they change to a snowfall, or winter storm warning the action begins. First, of course, it is important not to talk about it due to a risk of jinxing things. Then there are the night-time rituals like putting your pajamas on inside out, getting homework done, mittens under the pillow, and they go on.
Much as you may rationally understand that there will not be a storm day, when the alarm goes off the next morning and you don’t hear a cancellation notice, your heart falls. From that moment frowns and grumbles are the order of the day. The kids are extra cranky, especially if they didn’t finish their homework. They spend the whole day looking longingly out the window and asking if they are going to get sent home early.
In some ways this is like the Christian story. We have the forecast of the second coming of Jesus, of the New Earth. When it happens it will be completely undeserved, a total change from the everyday with nothing scheduled, no to-do list, and no struggles. We know it is coming, and yet when we get up each day it is in the same life, same hassles, the same old Earth. We don’t need to go through special rituals, wear things a particular way, this is already a done deal and all we have to do is continue to believe.
Distorted View of the world
You have a day off school because your parents are taking you to the doctor. Your alarm goes off and you hear the news on the radio…storm day, no school. All around your community kids are cheering their good luck and you feel cheated!
It seems to be human nature to be petty and jealous to some extent. Don’t you think that on some level Job’s friends were thinking that it was about time something went wrong in his life? When we see that an acquaintance has met with some major success isn’t there a tiny part of us thinking, “It figures they would get that” before getting to feeling happy for them?
I think the problem with this is pretty obvious. These reflexive thoughts block or distort our view of the world, however briefly. If we don’t recognize that we are doing this we end up looking in every situation for an injustice at the root for any lack of support. The more you look through those filters the darker the whole world appears.
Personal happiness aside, the distortions also keep us from seeing people as they really are and that in turn may keep us from forming positive relationships with them. So often we forget that inside everyone we meet there is a thinking and feeling human. Our resentment of a perceived advantage of another person may be based on faulty information.
What do we do about these automatic thoughts?
Recognize the thought as soon as it begins
Stop yourself quickly
Think! Does the situation actually negatively affect you?
Do you really know all the background of the situation?
Pray for help
Not sure who Job and his friends are? Read the book of Job in the Bible to find out.
Thanks for the picture goes to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kikisdad/254008177/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Posted in Reflections
Tagged automatic thoughts, Bible, Christianity, forgiveness, God, help, human nature, humanity, jealousy, Jesus, Job, reflection, reflex, snow day, storm day