I saw a bumper sticker recently that read, “I hope something good happens to you today.” I’m not much of a bumper sticker sort of person, but if I had the chance to purchase this one, I think I might just stick it on the back of my vehicle.
This simple wish of well-being isn’t fancy, but it is a refreshing change from a lot of the noise that fills our days. Rather than wishing others well, in many ways our society has gotten pretty used to criticizing, complaining, and attacking others. On top of that, we are constantly fed a message that there isn’t enough to go around, so we better hold on tightly to what we have so that no one else gets it.
The bumper sticker reading, “I hope something good happens to you today,” reminds me of something I once heard in a meditation and breathing exercise. During the meditation, listeners were invited to extend kindness to themselves, using simple words like, “May I be happy; may I be safe and free from suffering.”
Then listeners were invited to imagine extending this sort of blessing to others as well. The leader started by asking us to picture someone we cared for deeply, then to bring to mind someone we had indifferent feelings about, and finally, someone who had caused us a great deal of pain.
Of course, it was a lot easier to offer words of blessing and well-being to those we thought fondly of and enjoyed spending time with; it was less natural to extend it to those we didn’t like. Still, the invitation was to put our feelings for a particular person aside and to wish them well, simply because they were a fellow human being. Could we recognize that each person longs to be happy, just like us? Could we wish them well rather than harbor resentment or ill-will?
In our world today, with so many things coming our way to try to pit individuals against one another and in which we are fed images and advertisements that are made to make us feel inadequate and insecure, it’s pretty easy to fall into the comparison game, which can easily lead to being judgmental and untrusting of others.
However, what I’ve found is that when I am able to say something in my mind of someone else, such as, “May they be happy…may they be at peace,” or, like the bumper sticker read, “I hope something good happens to you today,” I feel a whole lot better about a lot of things. And it’s also a whole lot easier to experience the peace of God that Jesus promises and desires for all of us.