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Sue Hess

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Let It Rub You the Wrong Way
By Sue Hess   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, October 01, 2004
Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2002

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Are we too comfortable in America? In our homes? In our personal lifes? Is it wrong to want to be at ease? I don't know, this is only putting forth the question of discomfort in creating change. I don't really presume to know enough to have answers. But I am not adverse to pretending I do.

ďWhy canít we just all get along?Ē How many times have we heard it? Certainly often here on Authorsden and of course, it has been a cry of youth rallying for world peace for generations. But is it the answer?

Consider: To paraphrase Gibran, a pearl is built by pain around a grain of sand, without the discomfort caused by that small irritant, we would miss the enjoyment of a lovely strand of pearls. Does the clam care? Does he offer up this delight out of the goodness of his heart? Hardly. He is trying to ease an uncomfortable situation, by applying a balm, which in turn creates the pearl. So from discomfort comes beauty.

Another example: The broken shoulder was once held in place by a body cast, preventing any movement of the two broken parts. Physicianís now know that the two pieces of bone need to rub and chafe in order for the body to know that it needs to proceed with the healing process. From discomfort comes healing.

Would the mousetrap have ever been invented if cats took care of the mouse control situation? Would women ever have been given the vote if men hadnít got sick of hearing them complain about the way they handled things? Well, maybe that isnít a good example but change will only be affected when there is enough dissatisfaction with the status quo; enough discomfort, enough discord, enough downright pain is what it takes to make us decide to do something different. Complacency is the enemy of change, as we grow fat and successful, our desire to get out and create and rebuild grows weaker. Leave it alone, let it stand, donít worry about itÖ. whether it is the government, the welfare system, the medical system, or even our own family and careers, our natural instinct is to leave well enough alone. It is only when taxes kill us, when the actions of our leaders hit us at home, it is only when we or someone we love needs care they canít get because of inadequate medical controls, it is only when our children begin dying of drug overdoses that we realize the need for change and then usually too late. From discomfort comes change.

We need to be dissatisfied, we need to be hungry, we need to be uncomfortable because until we are, we are going to lie around our pools, or on an overstuffed sofa watching a big screen TV, we are going to go on looking the other way while the world around us goes to Hell. But we will get along fine, because our channels of communication have broken down to the point that we really donít have to deal with one another on a one to one basis anymore. So we can lock ourselves away from the things we donít like, use caller i.d. to avoid the unwelcome news, cable and satellite TV to avoid reading the newspapers and if we just close our eyes long enough, maybe things will just straighten out on their own.

I am very guilty of this in my own personal lifeÖI gave up drugs and alcohol, not because I suddenly saw the error of my ways in the middle of a beautiful high. Of course not, I quit because it started getting ugly and uncomfortable, I started to see the very real likelihood of death or jail in my immediate future. Discomfort, therefore, change. As simple or as complicated as that, it is the truth. We do not change something that makes us happy and comfortable. Society, marriage, education, and job whatever it may be, changes will only come when it becomes more uncomfortable to stay than to go or change. It is normal and it is human but it is also harmful to us as a people collectively and individually.

Iím not saying we need to move into a wooden shack and do without amenities to be uncomfortable. We only have to really look around us at the way others are living, at the way society is deteriorating, at the way the family life is eroding and we will become uncomfortable enough to start changing. But first we have to see, we have to feel for others, we have to care about posterity and what we are leaving them. If we care enough, we will be uncomfortable. We will cease to get along with the people who are standing in the way of positive change. We will stop blindly co-existing and we will chafe and rub and hurt until we change, until we grow, until we heal. Starting first in the home, then in the community, then in the country, we can create a better world. And then perhaps we will have created that pearl of an environment that our children and their children can live in the way we would want them to. And perhaps they will take a look at the government and direct their energies toward changing it. Thatís one I would hate to tackle.

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 10/21/2005
thought provoking article
Reviewed by D May (Reader) 4/13/2005
Wow! How did I miss this? Very well said.
Reviewed by Patrick McCormick 3/25/2005
Excellent write Sue. There is an old proverb, 'Through the discontent of man the world's best progress springs.' I can't remember who wrote it, but I read it many, many tears agp and always remembered it. I think we would all do well to remember some of the things you have written here.

Reviewed by Debra Conklin 2/26/2004
This an extremely thought provoking article. You hit upon points that are well made and very truthful. Things tend not to change unless they are too uncomfortable for us. The old saying, "Why fix it if it ain't broken. " applies here. My thought on that is just b/c it ain't broken doesn't mean it isn't running properly, a simple tune up or complete overhaul will make things operate much smoother.

Reviewed by Divinity 11 1/5/2004
it is well thought out and holds a lot of truth...thank you for sharing this with us.....But today our Christians are led around like Commies, parting with tax money that funds dictators, kings, drug lords, generals true....

and i'm glad to see you've grown as a person on your journey of discovery

Reviewed by Robert Williams 12/1/2003
A thought-provoking piece on alienation in American society. Many people, if they have jobs, work hard then party hard. During the work day they keep energized with pots of colon cancer-causing coffee, then rush to happy hour to unwind for an hour. Yet, most Americans are only three paychecks from bankruptcy.

The physical toll at some point causes some to take stock on their situation. Out West they have a saying - when you take a fall, you find gold. Too often it takes something drastic to wake people from their programmed lifestyle.

There remains a portion of people who remember God, worship Him, and give charity. But this charity is not the charity that government practices. It is true that Uncle Sam has donated more Kings, Dictators, and other Despots as leaders in other peoples' countries through his charitable arm CIA, but that is not charity. Charity is when you meet the needs of the suffering, not the needs of the greedy.

America was once the greatest nation on earth and was the lone hope that freedom and liberty could be had for all. That is why the private individuals of France donated their money to make the Statue of Liberty and gave it as a present, not to Uncle Sam, but to private American individuals who in turn had it reconstructed. WE were hope.

But today our Christians are led around like Commies, parting with tax money that funds dictators, kings, drug lords, generals etc around the globe. Have we become less charitable, less interested in our fellow man? Is the right shade of a color for a curtain hanging on our window more important than one of those 4,000 children who died today in Africa because their corrupt governments denied them access to food?

Whoever is occupying our minds with nonsense and keeping us distracted from the real issues that merit our attention, is the culprit. You know who they are, they're the greedy who need us to do as we're told and keep away from participation in government. They want to do government for us, rather than democracy where we do our own government through representatives that we elect, not them.

America can yet be reclaimed, but there's not much time left. and
Reviewed by Rachel Leugers 7/14/2002
Great Write
I'm 16
I think what you've written has lots of meaning!
Reviewed by Amor Sabor 7/7/2002
Excellent write!! You have brought out some very good points and the reality of todays issues. However, we live in a society that is not just about one country, but a whole world. We can live in a microcosm trying to rearrange the furniture in our homes but once a disaster strikes or a thief in the night visits and everything goes for nought. Nothing would matter anymore. It would be akin to a colony of ants cleaning their abodes until the exterminator or some other unforseen event occured and most of it would be wiped out. We could change everything in this country and the way we dealt with others but there has to be change throughout the whole world to effect that change. No one could leave it to the mercy of others. Much less to ourselves. There will be no relief on this planet within our lifetime and not in our children's either. It is unfortunate but a sad fact just the same. Society has deteriorated that far and there is no way foreseeable to reverse that pendulum. We can plug the leaks in the dikes with our fingers but the pressure will still remain to erode the corruption and hatred that exists. That process has to begin with every single individual and it will not happen overnight. This article is an excellent one in that it surfaces the frustrations of this world today.
Reviewed by Matthew Wright 6/26/2002
Good article.
There has to be a balance, I think. We need to feel some discomfort, dissatisfaction, in order to make a change. Ideally, it should be enough discomfort to prompt action, but not enough to affect us negatively. The will to change can also arise from gratitude. This can be harder to achieve, but the reward is greater.
Reviewed by Scada (Reader) 6/23/2002
Hey sis, just kinda stumbled across this. Well thought-out piece of writing. I happen to agree that we can't appreciate good if we never experience bad. What else can I say? You're brilliant.

Reviewed by Carol Kluz 6/16/2002
Dear Sue, This is a well thought out and excellent essay. I disagree on the point about complacency to some degree. American people have a reputation for being among the most giving and generous people on earth. They give more of their time and money to charities, to helping people in need around the world and into the coffers of medical research. Volunteerism is alive and well in this country. Sure, you are right about those who avoid the news and live within their own vacuums. Their lives revolve around their own creature comforts and they just don't want to hear about anything sad or bad going on. I'm not sure you'll be ablt to reach these types of people. This type of complacency would negate the effort. Your points are well taken about suffering. How will anyone know the true meaning of joy unless s/he has suffered disappointment first?

Thank you for writing such a thought provoking article.

Regards, Kaz

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Modern labour theories and practice. Covers issues like employment, unemployment, migration, brain drain, entrepreneurship, workaholism, and trade unions. ..  
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