I’ve never really been a Woody Allen fan. But I saw the first Woody Allen movie that I liked the other evening. Midnight in Paris was a splendid movie. Entertaining, creative, fresh. Overall, very well done. The main character Gil (played by Owen Wilson), travels through time and meets various famous artists and writers. So what does that have to do with wagging more and barking less?
Gil is dissatisfied with his life. He feels if he could just live in another time, the past, his life would be better. Nostalgia trumps the reality of the here and now. Gil learns that what we do with our present is what matters. And here’s where wagging and barking come into play. Culturally, it seems like we are longing for “the good old days” (whatever and whenever THOSE were) and that today is tragic. The economy is in shambles, unemployment is high, Congress is inept, gas prices are high, etc.
What we fail to see is what’s good in our culture and our lives. As Americans, we are pretty close to being “the 1%” if we look at our lives in a global context. Most of us have a roof over our heads, food on our tables and usually a car in the garage (sometimes two or three). I know some who don’t, but by and large, we as Americans are pretty darned blessed. Even the poorer members of our society are not too bad off compared to many people in the world today.
Yet we focus on what isn’t going right. Or at least what we think isn’t going right. But guess what? The economy really isn’t in shambles, unemployment is improving, Congress will probably always be inept in one form or another and gas prices have been going up and up since I got my first car in 1973 and regular was 29¢ a gallon. When gas hit a staggering 50¢ a gallon (gasp), I bought a more fuel-efficient car. And life goes on. I still have a car. Which puts me in the top 10% of people in the world, since over 90% of the people in the world don’t own a car.
So instead of focusing solely on what’s wrong with our world, maybe we should focus on what’s right with our world and our culture. Because there really is a lot to be grateful for and appreciate. Stop barking and start wagging. It’s good for our health, it’s even suggested in scripture and it makes all of us much more pleasant people.