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All that glitters isn't gold


December 14, 2011
I actually began this column the week before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, due to a good Samaritan act involving a scared, hurt dog that ended up with a scared, hurt me at the urgent care center, I wasn't able to finish it in time for the Thanksgiving issue.

That's OK, though, because it gave me time to really reflect on what I was writing and to take a little bit of my own advice. Plus, it's just as timely a week and a half before Christmas.

So, with that, here's my Thanksgiving (and now Christmas) column.


*****

This is a good time of year. It's a good time of year because, even if we don't feel like it, we're kind of forced to pause for a moment and remember all of the good things in our lives.

Like I said, we may not feel like it. Perhaps you've had a fight with your spouse, missed an assignment at work or are going through a true hardship. Or maybe you're just having a bad week. Life — and the little things that viewed too closely seem like gigantic things — certainly has a way of beating us down sometimes.

Despite any negativity in our lives (much of it our own doing), there is much for us to give thanks. It's up to us, however, to see what that is.

We recently had some friends and their children — ages 6, 3 and 2 — over for dinner. The kids didn't have a care in the world as they rammed a remote-control car into every wall of our house, tossed dog toys every which way (including into the side of my head) and took credit for making the perfect brownies by suggesting whipped cream be put on top. They were amazing. I honestly wish my spirit was more like theirs, appreciating now for now.

Instead, I worry about every decision to the point of obsession. Not only do I tend to worry about the situation prompting the decision, but I worry about which direction I have chosen to go, even if everything turns out OK.

Unfortunately, that's just human nature. We focus on the negative and not the positive, what we don't have and not what we do. Happiness for the single person means being married, while for the married it means having children. It's fine to want those and other things, but not at the expense of losing sight of the good things we do have.

For me, my vice is gadgets. I'm like Alpha, the vicious talking dog in the children's movie "Up." He's barking orders to the other dogs and all of a sudden he loses focus and yells out "Squirrel!" when he catches a glimpse of the furry animal streaking by.

Instead of being thankful for the iPhone 4 that I do have, my heart races just at the sight of the iPhone 4S. I know that the "new and improved" model really won't make my life any easier. I understand the cost-to-benefit ratio makes absolutely no sense. But it's shiny.

Unfortunately, shiny doesn't always make sense. There are other, more pressing bills to pay and using the credit card only adds a whole new set of problems.

So, with the holiday season here, that's my challenge, or, if you'll forgive me for being a few weeks early, my resolution: To not get distracted by the shiny and instead appreciate everything good that I do have, from my faith, wife, family, job and dogs. After all, those are the things that never lose their shine.

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Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
Corydon Instant Print
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