I wrote a post a couple days ago. It was one of those things that I was tempted to come back and delete the depressing thing later. I decided not to. I'm dealing with cancer, and you know what? It's not all sunshine and roses. This particular post was written after a two day bout with unrelenting (and unexpected) pain. The weather sucked, and I was homebound. I read a book which caused me to begin questioning my own worth. Life is funny like that. Sometimes you can be rolling right along, and *smack*, you get sucker-punched, and find yourself reeling from the blow. Unfortunately for you folks, I blog. Next thing you know, my black mood is right out there for all the world to see. I finally decided to leave that post as it was, not delete it, because, really, everyone has days like that, days when we are not at our finest. They pass. My own mood passed as, finally, blessedly, the electric jolts of pain in my legs and abdomen began to ease. The weather got nicer. I reached out to others, and their conversations, as always, buoyed me and put things back in perspective. In the space of a day, the world looked a much nicer place to be. It was an important message, I thought, a reminder to everyone that the dark days come, the dark days go. So I left the black post right where it was, blogged a more cheerful post to reflect the change in my mood and continued on.
Mike left a comment on that post that intrigued me. He said: Debby, life seems like a choice to me, not a response. If you view choices in a certain way, life begins to look very much like a computer program. Your input into the "system" (the world around you) determines the response you get back out of that system. As suggested by the programming analogy, this is a quite literal model. Basic proof is most quickly seen through simplistic examples; if you smile at everybody (input) they smile back and are more kindly disposed toward you (response). If you ask people questions about themselves (input) instead of talking about yourself, they like talking to you (response). If you study (input) you get good grade from your teachers (response). If you work (input), you get paid, etc.If you frown, people respond negatively. When you put negative orders (programming code) into the system, it returns negative results. It gives you what you ordered.We can change our lives by consciously operating in "cause mode." We don't control people's responses to us but we do control the quality of the code we submit to the system. Intentionally positive programming brings consistently positive results, because the world works systematically, like an incredibly complicated computer.
I've been cogitating on this one for a while now. To a degree, Mike, you are right. Anger begets anger. You can attract more flies with honey than vinegar (although crap draws them as well). Complaining angry people attract other complaining angry people. Suspicious people wind up being people that others are suspicious of. The list could go on and on. But the world, unfortunately is not a computer, and the positive programming theory often falls flat. I've seen, with my own two eyes, smiling women reduced to tears by grown men who feel that it is acceptable to belittle them in a public setting. I've seen smiling mentally retarded children ridiculed by people unwilling to be patient, to slow down even a minute to preserve the dignity of another less fortunate than themselves. I've seen someone come into a new church, their tremulous smiles met with judgment, scorn, and gossip. After the dust settled, the empty spot in the pew was unmourned. I've seen smiling people mocked for the color of their skin, for their sexual orientation, for their beliefs. 'Smile and the world smiles with you' is not always true. It is not at all like a computer, that you imput a code, and the world spits back a standard and predictable response.
I know two girls. They smile all the time. Oh, my God! They are beautiful. Lively, intelligent, well read, opinionated, spirited. The youngest says the most outrageous things, but she says them with a huge smile. The world, charmed, cannot hold a grudge, and laughs with her. She is like a sponge, dancing along wide-eyed, not willing to miss one thing. The world, enchanted, does not hold back one thing from her. I look at her, almost in awe. I cannot even guess how far this child will go in life. She is gifted, beloved. The oldest girl laughs no less. Her smile is just as quick and big as the youngest's. However, the oldest's smile hides pain. She does not speak of this. I cannot tell you how often she thinks on these painful things. But I can tell you that her own buried pain makes her quick to offer sympathy and comfort to this world. She does not discriminate. The oldest is bi-polar. Sometimes, she is manic. Her speech is rapid. The world picks up on this difference, and gives her no quarter. Her smiles do not enchant the world. She is labeled, and she is judged, and people are not always kind. She will never be given the benefit of the doubt. It is a fact. It breaks my heart. These two girls are my daughters, and they are how I know that big smiles and positive attitudes do not always garner a positive response from the world. I see the differences every day.
Bob B. also left a comment on this post: Debby, I'm inclined to agree with you. As I see it, the only choice we have it be happy or not. Everything else in this crazy world is pretty much out of our control.Through all of life's ups and downs, joys and sadnesses, triumphs and adversities, I choose to be happy.
Probably the most powerful words I've read in awhile. Thanks, Bob. Mike is right, to a degree. Positive attitudes, constructive behaviors can garner good things in this world. Bob is right as well. Sometimes life sucks, big time. Shit happens: Cancer. A love is betrayed. Random acts of violence. The world can be an ugly place. Sometimes we get sucker punched. That is, plain and simple, life. We reel for a moment, and we grab for support, and we try to get our bearings. It is not all within our control, but we can learn from these hard times. We can choose to gather wisdom from the dark days. We can choose to learn about courage. In the end, we can choose to be happy. No matter what the world dishes out, we can choose to be happy.