Peggy Goodrich (column mug)ENE

Do you try to be the keeper of the universe? Think about it.

It may come as a surprise if you really think about it as I did. I am, without realizing it.

I have a tendency to try to help everybody with their problems. And sometimes they don’t even know they have a problem unless and until I point it out to them. My advice is free and is worth just what they pay for it. Unsolicited advice is never worth much or appreciated.

Sometimes I don’t see how people get along without my sage advice, but they do quite well in their lives. I guess it is better to respect that everyone has a right to his or her own opinion, and move to where it is easy to get into a harmonious groove. Peace is more important than being right or having our own way, regardless.

No matter how hard we try to see from another person’s perspective, we can only guess what things might look like from over there on their side of the fence. If we look — really look — from their perspective, we will see that they are living their life that is right for them.

Most people, especially “hard-headed Germans” like me, believe that there is only one right way: mine. Not true! There are always other ways to look at something that does not require my expertise at controlling or keeping the universe in order. Tolerance and restraint are very important when reacting with other people. It is surprising how well they can work out their own problems without me and my opinion and help.

Have you ever noticed that two kids can be raised by the same parents with the same values and discipline and one will turn out completely different than the other one? This proves that we have little real control over what happens. There come a time when we can’t govern our own offspring, much less the entire world.

Grandma and Mother used to remind us to “clean our own doorstep” when we started to talk about how someone else was doing something. We thought our way was right and the only way, and were surprised when we learned that there might be a better way, at least for them. We must have had the cleanest doorstep around when I was a kid because I was always having to clean it.

Being in charge of everything and thinking that nobody does it like I do, is a type of judgment. Where do we get off trying to force our opinion or ways on other people? If they really want our help, they will hint or ask for it.

There is a prayer for people growing old that says so much about how we feel about controlling the universe and fixing everything for everyone. This prayer is for all ages.

“Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from getting talkative, and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject.

“Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details. Give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my many aches and pains. They are increasing and my love of rehearsing them is becoming greater as the years go by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken.

“Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint ... some of them are hard to live with ... but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Help me to enjoy every part of my life and to have fun living it. There are so many funny things around us, and I don’t want to miss any of them.

“Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody else’s affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. Amen” ... and amen!

Whether we like it or not, we cannot all be the keeper of the universe. That is not our job. We cannot make everybody do what is right. We cannot force our own children do what we believe it right. We cannot regulate other people to make good decisions. All we can do is advise and give good counsel and pray for them. Let’s take the pressure off our lives and let God deal with them.

How we turn out in life is a result of the choices we make. For every choice there is a consequence, whether good or bad. We have to pay the price for our own personal choices, and no one can control us and be the keeper of our own universe. No matter how hard we try nor how much we want to, we can control only ourselves. We cannot control our own spouses, our own children, our relatives, our employees, our bosses, our best friends or anyone. All we can really do is be responsible for our own self and salvation. For most of us, that in itself is a full-time job. Do it well.

Being a busybody does not make for close relationships. Helping someone is always appreciated, but not if it is overbearing. Good deeds must be done with kindness and concern and not be controlling or bossy.

When I want to control everybody and everything, my go-to place is my kitchen. When I am blue, depressed, lonely, stressed, riled, confused, or just need to get away from myself, I go to my kitchen. I bake something ... anything. Nobody tells me what to do or how to do it. I am free ... and happy. I made these cookies one evening recently and it cleared my mind and soothed my soul. I felt better, and I feel better sharing with you readers. Enjoy.

Comfort Cookies

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup butterscotch chips or chocolate chips (white or milk)

Mix sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in flour and soda. Add oatmeal. Last, add chips of your choice. Bake in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. They will look like they are not done, but they are. Allow to cool on cookie sheet, before removing.

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Goodrich writes a weekly column for the Enid News & Eagle​. Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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