Friday, October 27, 2006

Silver Linings & Positive Thinking

A friend of mine once wrote about Silver Linings and it started a lovely conversation between a group of people. We were talking about how our difficulties in life can make us stronger, smarter, more sympathetic to others... in other words, look for the silver lining. My thoughts on the topic follow.

This topic reminds me of something I realized a while back but need to be reminded of on a regular basis: We don't know the pain our neighbor may have suffered. We look at people and see what they allow us to see. We may envy them and think they have it made or they've been lucky or admire their strength and success. We have NO IDEA the path they traveled to get to that point in life. We have no idea the heartache they suffered along the way.

I’m an optimist. I choose to be. I want to share my child-like joy in the beauty of everything with everyone in my life. I once called my mother and made her go out in her yard and look to the west because the sky was so absolutely the most beautiful shade of blue that I couldn't stand not sharing it (she questioned my sanity). Even when the dark clouds scare the shit out of me, I think they're beautiful. I think my rose-colored glasses are cemented to my head. Occasionally, they get muck on them and it's hard to see the beauty in life but I eventually find a way to wipe them off.

Of course, that's not to say that there haven't been times that were heartbreaking or so stressful I should have been in a rubber room (I was going to say straightjacket but those who know me know I'd enjoy that). There were times that were physically painful. There were times that were so emotionally devastating I thought my heart really would break. There were times when I thought I would snap but held it together because I didn't think I'd be able to find my way back. There were times I didn't care if I lived. Those were muck on the rose-colored glasses times.

I guess what I'm using too many words to say is that while I know there are tragedies and ugliness in the world, I have decided to focus my gaze on what's good and beautiful and awe-inspiring. I also know that even the muck, in retrospect, will have beauty or value later. I'll learn something about myself. I'll understand another person's pain and be able to comfort them. I'll understand that the deepest pain I may feel has a balance and that other side is a peak of joy that makes my spirit fly.