Tuesday, March 15, 2005

To choose to be happy...

I am struggling somewhat with this right now. I am a believer in choice. I believe in mind over matter (somewhat). I believe that we are able to find joy in what we have and be happy with that, but it is not always easy. I am going to start with this story as an example, one I have read a few times, it is going around on the internet and I have received it a number of times already, but it still is a good example:

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John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood." Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or... I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life. "Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life." I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or... I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. He continued, ".. the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action." "What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'." Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead." He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

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So I guess I have to stop being the victim. Okay, so things have happened to me in my life that were beyond my control, and I made some decisions without knowing the whole story that have irrevocably changed my life and I can't go back. I was mostly happy BEFORE knowing the whole story. I CAN still be happy with what I have, because after all, I DID choose this, and I DID want it.

I know this is confusing, but let's just say a long time ago I had something I really wanted, something wonderful, but through misinformation and miscommunication I thought I had lost it, that the opportunity didn't exist anymore. I have just learned recently that this is not true, that I had not lost it. But it is too late to go back, I have continued on with my life since then and from where I am today, I cannot go back. In a way it is like losing the opportunity twice. For a second time, I have to put a cross on it. It is like mourning twice for the same person. It would be easier if I had never learned the truth. There would be no regret. I would be where I am today and I would be happy and satisfied with that. But now I have regret.

It helps to pinpoint that. That is what I have to work on to be happy again. I don't want to regret anything. Regret leads to wishing your life were not as it is... I want to be happy with my life as it is.

I am also a believer in God. I do not believe in DESTINY so much in the sense that our lives are planned ahead and we have no say in them,... but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. This gives me hope. I think maybe, just maybe, if I have learned the truth, there might be a good reason. And I KNOW if I am where I am today, there is a good reason. I might never live to see the reason, but there is a reason. When Naomi left Israel with her husband and sons and then lost them all in that strange land, it was a tragedy. But how could she know that this tragedy would eventually permit the marriage of her daughter-in-law to Boaz, and the birth of Obed who would be the grandfather of one of Israel's greatest kings, David? She couldn't know and she didn't live to see the birth of king David let alone see him crowned, although she was there for Obed's birth and I am sure that gave her joy as well.

Other woman have married heathen husbands, (admittedly some of them did not CHOOSE to do so as I did, but at least one other did...) and their husbands have converted through the intercession of their wives. Perhaps that is my purpose in life? If it is so, it is not to be taken lightly. Many of these women have suffered, many saints suffer, so if I too suffer, it is so I can offer it up for my husband.