We hear it all the time: Bless you! Do you know where it came from? People in medieval times said, “Bless you!” when someone sneezed because it was often the first sign of coming down with the plague. I kind of like it. It has a nice ring to it.
We can all understand the concept of the plague, after 2020. The global pandemic didn’t kill like the Bubonic plague, but that was because we know more about keeping a strong immune system, about preventing contamination, about handwashing, about quarantining the sick. What might happen if we applied what we’ve learned to other areas of our lives?
- The plague of disinformation. Instead of relying on one source of news or absorbing a point of view Facebook thinks you ought to hear, we can listen to sources we don’t like. In my youth we read a newspaper for a “balanced” or less-skewed reporting of the news. That is no longer possible, because journalism has been tainted by politics, and a writer’s views permeate the communication of news. Choices of adjectives, choosing which “facts” to present, and couching it to create an impression takes the place of balanced news. It is incumbent upon all of us to find the truth, not just like what we hear.
- The plague of passion.While I’m all for embracing what matters, we have all seen passion run amok in riots and looting. It’s time to bring a little cool-headed reasoning back to the drawing board and learn to express ourselves with a little less passion. State facts. Educate with examples. Let people draw conclusions without trying to force them down each other’s throats.
- The plague of sadness. Loss is the theme of 2020. We all lost friends or loved ones. We all lost opportunities and pleasures. We all lost the naivete of thinking the good times would roll on forever…but it’s time to recover from those losses. When our second son died three years ago, I learned a fundamental truth: Embedded in every loss is a gift. Embrace the gift and recover from the loss.
- The plague of ennui. Did you ever see Never Cry Wolf? Tyler is flying in a tiny prop plane over the frozen tundra, and the engine begins to sputter. The pilot tells him to take the wheel, opens the doors, and bangs on the plane to transfer fuel from one take to the other. “Do you know what’s wrong with the world, Tyler,” he asks? “Boredom!” We can all relate to that. With lost hours and less income, boredom soon set in. For some, being unproductive became a new way of life. Get by on less. Let others foot the bill. Forget work…but a life without purpose and without work isn’t really living at all…it’s existing. It’s time to harness our energy and get back to life!
What would happen if we cured these plagues in our lives? What would happen if we offered a simple, Bless you! to others we encounter? Find 100 simple acts of kindness in Sign Up Genius and begin blessing others. The plagues of life will be less of a plague in your own life. You’ll become a happier and healthier you.