Ponder: contemplate, consider, dwell on, review
You know, sometimes I think it not such a good thing to have so much time to sit and think. The news these days-well just about all the time-is full of disasters, shootings, fires, horrible crimes, floods, and all manner of very bad news. If I’m not careful I could become very discouraged. Bad enough that I have health issues I’m dealing with, but seeing the chaos in the world at large can really send one into a tailspin.
As I have mentioned before I try to keep positive outlook. Not always easy these days but I do try. One of my very favorite Bible verses is from Philippians:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
I think it’s important each day to consider carefully what we spend time thinking about. Yes, the world is full of problems. Yes, each day brings more bad news. But there is good news too! Looking for what is good in life doesn’t mean that were burying our heads in the sand and ignoring important world events. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care about what’s happening. We can be informed but it’s important not to dwell only, or excessively, on these negative happenings.
Consider the above verse from Philippians. “Whatever is true” can include both good and bad. But as we think about relationships, is so important to check facts and to be absolutely certain before passing judgment. And even then, judgment should be left to God. Right?
“Whatever is noble”. Synonyms for noble include virtuous, ethical, good, and decent. When I think about politics, I don’t usually associate any of these words with what is reported in the news. In fact quite the opposite. The same can be said for much news in the entertainment industry. No, it’s not all bad. But it sure isn’t all good!
What about “whatever is right”? Well, I’m reminded about how much media attention is given to celebrities who have experienced very public meltdowns or poor choices. It can be hard to look away, but is it right to watch or read about these events to the extent that we do?
And consider “whatever is pure”. Purity isn’t a terribly popular concept these days, is it? In terms of tangibles we think of pure water, pure air, etc. But purity, as far as people are concerned, is nearly inconceivable. We are all flawed. But still, we have all met people whose kindness is evident and is itself a kind of purity, I think. Nature, too, gives us examples of purity such as a budding flower or the glorious colors at sunrise or sunset!
“Whatever is admirable”. Another easy one. Or at least it should be! Think about something you have admired. The majesty of tall trees, the glossy coat of a beautiful horse, the graceful way a bird soars on the wind, the beauty of art and music, the intricacy of the human body, and so much more!
All of this is then summed up with the words “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy”. We are to think about these things. To ponder these things.
Some days it’s difficult for me to see past my limitations and my fears and to center my thoughts on what is excellent or praiseworthy. The progression of ALS is relentless. Everyday tasks that were once automatic are now either impossible or very difficult. Negative thoughts can creep in and if I’m not careful, take over my mind leaving me in a very bad place. So I do make every effort to remind myself of – and to ponder – some most excellent things. These include people who help us every day, the music I listen to, the funny videos and jokes I see on the Internet, and so much more.
If you have about nine minutes, enjoy some of the most moving music ever composed, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, accompanied by glorious photography. Together they comprise much that is both excellent and praiseworthy! Listen. Watch. And ponder.