Being like the water fowl

In my blog post yesterday I mentioned that my little container garden has brought me many hours of pleasure and it’s helped me come to terms with major loss and the loss part is what I want to write about today. No, this isn’t going to be about losing my husband, although that’s been the most crushing loss I’ve experienced in my life.

Being fearful is easy. Putting fear aside takes hard work. I speak from experience. I was an extremely fearful child, to the point “Scared” should have been my middle name. One of my biggest fears, besides the dark, was I was terrified of strangers. It took years and constant encouragement and prodding by my parents to get me past a lot of that. I had to work hard on dealing with my fears and learning to face them. Then I had to learn to not let fear take a hold of me and often that involves not listening to people spreading fear and for me it takes praying and asking God to help me.

Even as I reached adulthood, I was still a very fearful person and overly cautious. My husband helped me learn to face my fears and some of his courage and fearlessness rubbed off on me over 40 years of marriage. He always told me I can do things, while I would list the reasons why I would fail.I wandered around my home many hours each day for almost a year after my husband died last March.

Planting this little container garden hasn’t been some spectacular garden and some people would scoff at the small amounts it’s produced, but for me each seed that sprouted and grew into a plant felt like it was filling a hole in my heart. It felt like God was blessing me with growing things in my backyard and each tiny success gave me enormous hope.

When I was a kid one of the little habits I started when fears started taking hold was to deliberately focus on all the things that were good that were going on around me and all the many blessings all around me. By switching my focus to looking for positive things the bad didn’t disappear, but the good started taking an upper-hand over the bad and the fears. I prefer to focus on working on things I have some control over in my own life and trying to help people where I can. Worrying about global conspiracies, evil elites, even real major system failures with the global economy doesn’t get me anywhere, while looking around my own home, family, neighborhood and focusing on things I can actually do each day moves me in a better direction. What I do might not work for millions of people and it’s likely millions of people won’t agree with my views.

Writing blogs is a trend that’s losing popularity, as social media has moved on to other formats most people now use – video content is way more popular, podcasts are popular too. Instant and quick have large audiences while reading 1,000+ word blog posts is about like reading books – most people don’t want to invest that much time. In fact, even with news, it’s obvious on social media like Twitter that most of the blue checkmark crowd of politicos there react to headlines and don’t read through the articles linked.

Starting this blog was tackling another of my biggest fears. I always loved writing, but I had a lot of fears about writing and letting people read what I wrote. Self-doubt literally crippled me from writing. This blog was like a blank piece of paper that was mine to fill as I chose.

A friend urged me to start this blog and it’s been a whole lot of commentary on politics and current events. Watching the corruption expand in our institutions, from government to media to even things that shouldn’t be political, I’ve found myself becoming less of a right-wing partisan and thinking more in terms of just being an American citizen, as our politics has gone further off the rails in recent years. I don’t want to be part of Red Team America or part of Blue Team America. I just want to find ways to work toward things that matter to me and that I feel are positive for all of America.

I’ve had to catch myself recently with writing commentary on my blog about things I see on social media and disagree with, because I’m not into popularity contests, pissing contests, the clique mind-set or people caught up in their social media “followers” and “subscribers” status (I’ve watched this on Twitter, people on facebook bragging about the number of friends they have and on YouTube – those are the social media formats I’ve used.) And I do find a whole lot of things I see online that I think are fear-mongering for clicks, total bullshit, or the rush to weigh in without doing any fact-checking. It’s not just regular people who have social media formats that do this.

What’s really distressing is how many professional journalists, political pundits, and even political leaders rush to weigh in on every hot button thing that flits across social media too. In the process, trust in the news media and our political class has plummeted. Too much of America feeds on reacting rather than taking some time to think about information, do some fact-checking and then taking a little time to think things over. I write my blog posts for myself, as my space online to write what I think and believe is the truth. I will never monetize my blog and I have no desire to venture into more social media formats. I don’t do public speaking, have never taken a selfie in my life (I found that selfie trend very disturbing when my kids were younger), I don’t do videos and I intend to keep it that way.

I’m also going to be consuming less prepper-related content and less politics content online, because very little of it makes me feel any-better informed. I don’t want to indulge in reacting to the latest hot-take conspiracy theory, dire predictions, or news reporting that is more retweeted crap by journalists that none of them fact-checked. I also don’t want to hear reports that random people send to a content creator that haven’t been verified in any way. I don’t want to lose my peace of mind in living a simple lifestyle and succumb to fear-based shopping or financial decisions or feeling America is doomed based on information that will likely completely change in 10 minutes, an hour and in a day most of the current hot take information will turn out to be totally wrong. Very little of “the facts” in the news that create a buzz online holds up in 24 hours.

Spending more time in my backyard has made me think about many things. I felt a keen loss of quiet time that this little container gardening effort has restored as I’ve spent less time online. In a recent blog post I wrote about my quotes notebook and our retired pastor’s wife when I was a kid. Her nature walk came to mind, because of a loud squabble one recent morning sitting on my patio sipping coffee after I watered my garden. I watched a water fowl (could tell from the legs, feet and size of the bird, even though it was a good distance away). It flew and landed in a tall tree in the woods behind my back fence. That bird created a near riot among the mockingbirds, which flew in from both sides of my backyard and one flew out of the willow tree in my backyard. Those three mockingbirds were squawking loudly as they charged toward that tall tree to chase the water fowl away. It was fascinating to watch those mockingbirds. Often I feel like people act like that too.

The water fowl flew away and the mockingbirds settled down. I’m flying away from some contentious things online too – and moving back to reading more books and writing about some topics besides social media drama, current events, politics and doom and gloom economic news.

I want to write more stories from American history

1 Comment

Filed under Food for Thought, General Interest

One response to “Being like the water fowl

  1. JK

    “Gardening” LB, “Is the one gift that a soul can give to itself.”

    Mamaw Jeffery

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