“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phillipians 4:8, NRSV)
I love this scripture. I think of it often and in many different circumstances. I really need to memorize it. I tend to think “Whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is....oh bother, how does that go?” Which sort of side tracks me from all my good and pure thoughts.
I thought of this verse this morning when I set out on a bike ride. The falling leaves, the cool breeze, the trees, there was beauty all around me. I had just spent several hours in the middle of the night unable to sleep worrying about things over which I had no control. So, as I set out doing something I love in a place I love I thought, “why don’t I spend more time thinking about things like this and less on negativity and worry?” Thus the verse came to mind.
There has been plenty of negativity flying around over the last many months. Election years do little to increase public confidence in our elected officials. Fear mongering is alive and well on all sides of any issue. When my six year old daughter comes home quoting a six year old friend who told her a certain candidate is a thief, I know mudslinging has become a national pastime. It would almost seem if we followed Phillipians 4:8 we wouldn’t be able to think about politics at all.
I am not trying to tell folks whose candidates did not succeed to just quit worrying about. “Let go and let God” is one of my least favorite phrases. Someone telling me to quit worrying has never succeeded in causing me to stop worrying. Still there are some positive things to think about whatever your political persuasion. I rejoice to hear more women will be in our House and Senate than ever before. I celebrate other signs of diversity too. Amongst all our elected officials, if we look hard enough, I think we will find some who are sincerely committed to serving people and doing what they can to better their world.
This morning my bike tires rolled over fall leaves, crackling and popping, putting a certain well known breakfast cereal to shame. I breathed in gorgeous, crisp, fresh air. In a truly awe-inspiring moment, I glanced down to see a black and orange butterfly land lightly on the yellow, green, and brown leaves strewn across my path.
Not only was a refreshed by this experience, I was inspired. I thought, “We must protect this.” My vision was broadened so I could reflect upon people around the world who drink in such moments. My heart was moved by compassion for those whose lives are so full of a desperate fight for survival, due to poverty or violence and the like, that there are no moments remaining to breathe deeply the beauty of life.
Perhaps now that the election is over, we all need to take a walk, or a bike ride, or a canoe trip or whatever and refresh ourselves. Remind ourselves of what is good and pure and just and honorable. Remind ourselves of what we are fighting for in the first place and I hope it is this: that we all move ever closer to what is true and honorable and just and pleasing and commendable and excellent. President Obama, Governor Romney, all our elected officials, please take the time today to get back in touch with the beauty of nature, the abundance of our blessings, and the reason for public service: using your gifts to make the world a better place for all people and all of creation. May you be renewed and inspired as I was.