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Small World

February 2014
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globeThe other day I got into a box full of DVDs and CDs and found Greatest Hits by Huey Lewis and The News.” Their band, based in San Francisco, CA, “had a run of hit singles during the 1980s and early 1990s, eventually scoring a total of 19 top-ten singles across the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and Mainstream Rock charts” (quote source here). And, as you can tell from my last two blog posts and now this one, too, I am a BIG fan of theirs . . . a BIG fan. This particular song–Small World (see YouTube videos  Part Oneand Part Two below)–is the latest to be added to that list. Here are the words to that song:

“Small World (Part One)”

Huey Lewis and The News

All around the world
There are people like you and me
From the poorest beggar in the street
To the richest king and queen

Some people take
And then they never give
You gotta learn to give and take
If you wanna learn to live
In a small world
Small, small world

Now we can
Fight one another
Like they do on T.V.
Or we can
Help one another
The way it’s supposed to be

If we all give a little
It could really mean a lot
It’s a small world
But it’s the only one we’ve got
Small world
Small, small world

Lyrics compliments of www.azlyrics.com

We live in a world that is increasingly self-absorbed (that’s a statement and not a judgment). And if you don’t believe me, just get on the freeway and see how long it takes before someone cuts you off in a hurry to go nowhere fast. I’ve lived in several major cities in the past twenty years (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami, and Houston) and visited a few in the past year and a half–Atlanta, Houston (again), New Orleans, and Washington D.C., (just to name a few of the places I stopped and a whole bunch more not listed that I’ve either lived in or traveled through in those past twenty years)–and at times it seemed like my little car was my only protection (too bad it isn’t armor plated) from a world whizzing by at break neck speed, and I don’t exactly drive slow myself, either.

Seems we are all in a hurry to go nowhere fast anymore.

These past almost five years of unemployment have slowed down my world (well, my work world) considerably. All the hustle and bustle and frenetic activity of work came to a screeching halt on the day I was fired back in April 2009. And, it’s given me plenty of time to stop and smell those roses everybody else misses on the fast track to nowhere. Hurry, hurry, hurry and for what? Why do we hurry so much and so fast? Why do we pack schedules so full that we miss out on really getting to know others, except maybe (and it’s a big maybe) for those folks who happen to be a part of our lives on a daily basis.

No wonder the divorce rate is at 50% and we don’t even know who our kids are once they’ve grown up. Somebody else helped raised them (day care centers and “babysitters” like T.V., the Internet, cell phones and texting, movies, a thousand books on a million topics (what are they reading?) along with hundreds of other things that isolate us from others and cement us into our own little cocoons.

Self-absorbed . . . .

I suppose it’s one of the unfortunate outcomes in a society on the fast track to who knows where. Does anyone even pay attention to anything other than what is going on right this moment unless, of course, one is planning on how they can make more money to keep on going nowhere fast because, heaven forbid, if we don’t we will miss out on something we think we really need or want or we aren’t keeping up our end of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Unfortunately, by doing exactly that we miss out on a lot . . . . but we do end up with a lot of stuff–the latest techy gadgets; replacing the car every two years to have the latest and greatest with the coolest stuff; always striving for a bigger house or a better job that pays a lot more money so we can end up in a bigger grave at the end of our lives and pass it all on to folks we never even really got to know (our families, for example). But hey, we had a great life, right? All that “stuff” is what we wanted, right? And in the end, that’s all we ever really had because we forfeited human relationships for “stuff” in order to have power, prestige, status, being cool, using people for our own benefit, etc. And who really cares once we are dead (and it would probably shock us if we knew how many really don’t care while we are still alive)? Maybe we don’t even care anymore. In fact, maybe we don’t even think about it anymore because we are just too busy accumulating stuff. We have no time for regrets because we’ve been too busy chasing after the wind.

The debris in our lives isn’t from the “stuff,” but from the human relationships we threw away in the quest for all that stuff. We don’t value others like we value ourselves. If we can get something from others that we want (even if it costs those “others” dearly), well then fine . . . it just means more for us; but actually helping others (and I’m not talking about the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” kind of help, either)? We don’t have time for that because it doesn’t benefit us.

How far we have fallen, and we don’t even see it. And I’m not sure we even care anymore. As long as our own bank account is full, who cares about someone else in need? Hey, we earned it, right? Let them go earn their own.

throw-awayWe live in a throwaway society”--we throw away jobs we don’t like (while millions still go unemployed); we throw away folks who don’t benefit us in some way; we throw away marriages and play musical chairs with spouses and “significant” others (guess they weren’t so “significant” after all); and we throw away unwanted children by the millions (around 60 million abortions to date since Roe v. Wade formed a huge black cloud over the landscape of America in 1973), and even those children we do have often grow up around others because we are just too busy to spend any quality time with them. And what have those “others” been teaching them? We shoved them off into day care centers and didn’t even care what they learned there as long as we had the time to go out and make more money and accumulate more stuff. They learned whatever the “values” were of all those “others” who essentially raised them because we lost our own values long before they were even born.

And we are now beginning to reap the harvest of our “throwaway” mentality and lifestyles. Unfortunately, we don’t even notice and probably won’t until it’s too late. When was the last time we really looked around at what is going on in the rest of the world? No, we’ve been way too busy accumulating all that stuff of our own and paying attention to ourselves and what we want.

We live in a small world, and there are plenty of others who could use our help. So when will we learn to take our eyes off of ourselves and starting living like the words in the song above state:

If we all give a little
It could really mean a lot
It’s a small world
But it’s the only one we’ve got

James 4 contains the answer if we will only listen and learn from it:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Is all that “stuff” we’ve been accumulating at the expense of people and relationships worth it in the end? The choice is ours to make. At the end of our lives when it’s all said and done, the “Joneses” no longer matter, and if we had been paying attention, we would have discovered all along that keeping up with them never should have mattered in the first place. As the words of the song state:

Some people take
A
nd then they never give

You gotta learn to give and take
If 
 you wanna learn to live

In a small world
Small, small world

There’s still time to reconsider our ways. So what is it going to be?

Just more of the same?

Or an about face?

The choice is yours . . . .

YouTube Video: “Small World” (Part One & Part Two) by Huey Lewis and The News:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

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