ACHOO! It’s that time of year.
“This pollen is driving me crazy,” is the lament of many allergy sufferers each spring. The pollen seems to catch a breeze in the tops of tall pine trees and soar down into the nasal passages and eyes of its victims causing coughing, sneezing, sore throats, and swollen eyes.
Then a spring shower pops up and rinses the yellow invader from the trees, cars, and sidewalks, leaving the once powdery air crisp and clean. “Ah. I can breathe at last,” sigh relieved souls as they welcome a reprieve from the yellow clouds that once covered the landscape. However, joy is often short-lived.
Alas, a few days later the boughs of oak trees sport their newly-formed grains of yellow dust and share them with unsuspecting folks each time the wind blows. Here we go again—grasses, flowers, shrubs, and all the beauties that grace the fashion runways of the season sport the same dusty yellow garments.
The cycle continues. Although we are grateful for the way God renews the earth and provides for plant growth, we are happy when pollen sufferers can breathe freely again.
The pollen reminds me of other irritations and pet peeves that threaten to spread misery in our environment. Have you faced any of these?
- a driver holding up a long line of traffic trying to turn left at a busy intersection during rush hour
- co-workers who complain and fail to carry their load
- appliances that break
- obnoxious sales calls
- a friend who is always late
- lost items you put in a “special” place
- a recording that insists you press five numbers for the help you need
Have you noticed that once we pay attention to the irritants, they become more irritating? And then, more of them seem to invade our day. Focusing on the nuisances seems to make them multiply like dirty socks in the laundry.
Going outside with my contact lens magnifies the discomfort of pollen for me as the grainy bits sometimes lodge under the lens and require immediate cleansing. However, when I remember to wear my sunglasses, they block some of the pollen from bothering my eyes.
How can we block the ill effects of life’s daily challenges that surround us? Is it possible to ignore some pet peeves? Consider these two ways:
- Start the day with Bible reading and prayer to set the tone. Irritants are still as prevalent as the yellow dust outside but focusing on God minimizes the problems.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
- Filling our minds with good thoughts and the promises of God, reduces the capacity of our minds to dwell on problems. Challenges are real and some require action on our part. However, noticing and dwelling on them are two separate issues. I sometimes dwell on the negatives, forgetting to focus on good thoughts. This verse helps me realign my focus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Maybe the pollen will remind us of how we deal with the irritants of life. I hope the verses above encourage us and remind us to share the peace of Christ with others.
How do you stay focused and peaceful when daily irritants swirl around you?
Bible verses are from the English Standard Version.