It’s chaos out there, isn’t it? The daily news has become repetitive and depressing. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. You don’t know whom to trust, and car lots and store shelves are half empty because product is unavailable – and that’s because there aren’t enough people working to keep things running smoothly. We hear about an uptick in prices, taxes, and crime, while hurricanes and wildfires prevail. We miss peoples’ smiles because of masks, and we worry about that invisible creature called Covid.

        Life seems to have changed dramatically, but when I study the history of this country, it hits me that things haven’t changed as much as we think they have. There have always been plagues, and there has always been scheming, underhanded corruption in our government. There have always been the greedy, the middle-class and the poor, all struggling to get what they think they deserve. There has always been conflict over states’ rights and how to keep up our infrastructure, as well as conflict over fossil fuels, workers’ rights, women’s rights and voting rights. Nothing has really changed.


        Today I had to travel to an appointment that took me along Interstate 94 here in southern Michigan, a trip I have to make often but have hated all summer because of major construction going on. Those construction areas seem to just add to today’s frustrations – people going too fast in zones where you should slow down, semi trucks behind you, in front of you, beside you, and coming at you when there is only a small cement barrier between you and that behemoth bearing down on you. Moments like that make me want to go home – my safe zone. But then, I wonder if someone will even invade that, too.

        We are bombarded from every direction – television, traffic, kids, jobs, spouses, rude people, school, the ding-dong of appliances, phones and doorbells, and, of course, the ever-present internet and all its ways of coming right into our home uninvited, through our computers and telephones, and even through our automobiles. 


        Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and take a moment to enjoy pure quiet. When I got home from that wild ride down I-94 today, I took some groceries into the kitchen and realized how quiet the house was. I was tired, so I just stood there, breathed deeply, and listened to the ticking of the several clocks in my house. I love clocks, and I find that ticking a soft comfort.

        So I just stood there and listened. Tick, tick, tick. Just me. Alone. Silence, but for those ticking clocks. And it was kind of nice. It was a moment that reminded me that life outside the door could seem chaotic, noisy and dangerous. But when you are lucky enough to have a home to call your own, a place where you can walk inside and close the door to that world “out there,” it is something to appreciate. Of course, it’s even nicer when a kitty-cat or a dog greets you lovingly. Creatures who love you no matter what else is happening in the world always make a difference.


       Take time out once in a while to just stand and listen. Listen to the clocks. Listen to the refrigerator turn on, or the air. Listen to your own breathing. Remind yourself that life goes by much too fast, so don’t let the outside world make it seem to pass by even faster. Don’t let the chaos create havoc in your own heart and mind. Find your safe zone, breathe deeply, and enjoy that special place. Whatever that place is, don’t let anyone take it from you. And visit it every day, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Just stand and listen. Feel your own pulse and be glad you woke up today, alive and well.


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