Simple Math

We are divided. Our nation is torn. People are broken. Unfortunately, this is a fact. If we need any proof, all we have to do is turn on the news, scroll through social media, or listen to any conversation that involves more than two people. We do not agree. And suddenly, we don’t hesitate to say it. Have we ever agreed? That is debatable, but we have certainly never been as universally vocal as we are now.

People are angry, mad, sad, disappointed, and on edge. We have lost so much. Many would say at this point, we have almost lost a year…a year of profitable revenue…a year of gatherings…a year of basic personal interaction. We have lost people we loved…grandparents, friends, and co-workers. Some of us have lost jobs. Some of us have lost health. Some of us have lost peace. We are uncertain of what comes next, unbelieving in the “science,” and unwilling to trust like we did before.

These bizarre times have created a crisis in many lives and brought out much of what people did not even know existed within them—fear, anger, judgement, criticism, frustration, worry—and on many days, perhaps several of these emotions at once.

Our internal crisis is more critical than the physical one because it impacts who we are. Who we are determines what we do, and what we do makes our lives beautiful or harmful.  

We wonder when this turmoil will end. Or will it ever end? Will we always have the remnants of this time with us like the way 9/11 changed the way we fly? Will we forever feel the ripple effect of 2020? Will things ever “get back to normal”?

As these thoughts and many more plague us, another idea creeps into our minds: there must be a way to fix this. There must be a way to mend the brokenness, the torn nation, the division. We have not always been this way, and we don’t want to live like this.

We know we can never change a family, a community, or a nation until we change ourselves, so what can we do individually and personally to reverse this turmoil? We must have an internal shift. We must each make a change—a change within ourselves. If we only complain or rail or flail, we solve nothing. We must get back to simple math.

The remedy for subtraction is addition. If you have a whole and something is subtracted, then something must be added to be whole again. The remedy for division is multiplication. If you divide a whole by something, it become less. To get back to fullness, you must multiply.

What if we applied this math to our current situation?

We have lost, so we must add.

Add kindness. If every day we intentionally and quietly perform one act of kindness, it will start a personal trend toward grace. It’s really hard to be disrespectful or angry with someone when you are being purposefully kind to them.

Add perspective. Og Mandino said, “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do so with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” If we did that, our perspective would certainly change. Seeing someone differently is the inevitable result of putting their needs before our own desires.

Add joy. Many wonderful events are happening every day. There is beauty all around us, but sometimes we need to be intentional about seeing it. Find one thing daily that you know to be beautiful or wonderful. Buy the flowers, pet the puppy, stop and stare at the view. Give yourself the opportunity to experience joy. Every day.

We are divided, so we must multiply.

Multiply gratitude. The issues that face us cannot withstand a people who are thankful and grateful. These traits bind us together. It is critical for us to remember that our gratefulness list far exceeds our grievance list and that our blessings always outnumber our beefs!

Multiply relationships. Friendships bring us to a common solution. Relationships trump differences. The more we invest in the people around us and the more we value each other, the closer we come to being united.

Multiply intention. When we are intentional about our interactions and about our words, we become better at making those actions and words meaningful and uplifting. Thoughtful comments and conversation carry weight and have far-reaching influence. “Intentionality is actually the first step toward authentic spiritual awakening and the discovery of new horizons of understanding and wisdom.” – Theodore J. Nottingham

We need each other. Let’s look at this situation differently by adding to other’s lives and multiplying our effectiveness in our community. It’s really just simple math.