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The other morning my friend and co-worker Cristy and I devised a solution for all the major problems of the universe.
Just stop. Take a breath. Step back. Chill out.
Politicians, stop politicking. Forget about focus groups and pork spending and back room deals and war room strategies. Democrats aren't evil and neither are Republicans, so stop treating people with whom you disagree as enemies. We're all Americans, so stop!
People need to stop their violence. Stop beating your wife or your boyfriend or your kid. Stop getting drunk. Stop shooting up or snorting coke. Stop having babies with multiple partners. Just stop.
Pedophiles, stop molesting children. Pornographers, stop making the stuff.
Mean people, stop being mean.
Stop stealing. Stop lying. Stop backbiting. Stop killing.
If you're holding a grudge against someone - stop. It doesn't matter. It's over. Get on with living because you're only hurting yourself.
Cristy and I decided that wars should stop and the oil companies should drill for oil in our own country. We decided that gas prices should stop rising and go back to an affordable amount.
Cars should stop making expensive-sounding noises and so should any electronic device or major appliance. Poverty and hunger should stop immediately.
People should stop breaking the law. That way they won't get arrested and wind up with their names in the paper and get upset when they do (and call the paper to complain).
People should stop driving too fast and too recklessly. Stop text messaging when you're supposed to be watching the road. (I added that one.) Everybody should wear seat belts and take a multi-vitamin daily and eat enough fiber and treat their animals kindly.
If everyone would simply stop and take a breath and chill out all at the same time, we could regroup. We could all see that what we're doing isn't working, that our world is in a whirlwind, much like an overtired toddler who badly needs a nap.
What if we all stopped and took a nap. Pour a glass of milk and maybe grab a cookie and then find a blanket and a comfy corner and be still for a little while.
Parents should stop putting guilt trips on kids (that was Cristy's idea) and kids should stop being sneaky. They should make their bed every day, keep their rooms clean and be nice to their brothers or sisters. Parents should stop nagging or demanding perfection. Kids should not be rude or defiant.
No one should be envious or proud or boastful or lazy. Let's all do what Rodney King suggested and all get along.
Stop being greedy. Start sharing.
If you don't want to eat meat or sugar or trans-fats, let those who do enjoy them. Same with those who don't want to believe in God. Let those of us who do, do so. Stop trying to remove God from American society.
Stop being offended. Everyone is offended over everything. When did we humans get to be such namby-pamby wienies? Stop it! Just stop.
We all want the same things. We all want peace in our soul. We want love and we want to be needed. We want to enjoy our work and our leisure and our food. We want to laugh with joy and delight because, despite hardship and adversity, life is good.
We want to express our creativity and create beauty. We want shiny hair and smooth skin.
We want hope.
I think sometimes we forget that's what we really want. When we do and chase power and prestige and money and might, that's when we hurt others and hurt ourselves, so let's just stop.
Stop, and listen to our hearts beat, feel the rise and fall of our chests as we breathe, stop and marvel at the complexities of the universe and the wonder of nature.
In Psalm 46 God says, "Be still and know that I am God."
That means stop. Take a breath. Step back. Chill out. Since God says it, maybe we all should do it. It just might make a difference, at least it might be a start.