All in Perspective

Last week I was at the beach with lots of work to do.  I am getting the houses ready for summer rental.  So I had my things to do list and one chore was spray painting a wicker loveseat.  I had waited several days to do this because the wind seemed always to be blowing and spray painting needs a calm day.

I got up and was anxious to get the job done.  But when I looked out at the ocean all I could see was very tall, rolling waves and lots of foam.  I thought to myself, “What an angry sea!  That wind is terrible.  It is blowing so hard that the ocean itself is upset.”

I saw an angry sea because I was angry.  I was anxious to get my priority list done and nature was not cooperating with me.  It seemed that I would never find a day that the wind was calm so I could get my painting done.

As I moved to another chore I began to reflect on the ocean.  Actually, it was really pretty. The waves were huge and the foam that was stirred up almost looked like frosting on a cake.  I noticed how the clouds almost touched the horizon.  I began to see the picture differently.  My perspective began to change.

Life is like that a lot.  We have the power in our minds to see things as we wish. We must consciously make an effort to put the positive spin on what our eyes show us.  Many times we let our emotions cloud our vision.  If we are angry, as I was, we will put a negative spin on our view.  But if we can change our emotion or our perspective we will see it in a positive manner.  It makes a major difference in how we approach the world.

Recently I overheard my daughter say to my granddaughter.  You cannot have two thoughts in your mind at the same time.  So if you have a negative, or sad or terrible thought, make your mind think a pleasant or happy or positive thought.

I was impressed.  She is so right.  We choose to think.  We control our minds.  If we choose to go down sad paths, we will be depressed and overcome with those emotions. But if we are conscious of what we are doing, we can work to change our thoughts and stay out of the depressed thought realm.

No one has the perfect life.  Bad things happen to all of us.  Sometimes it is financial, sometimes it is a major loss, sometimes it is physical and sometimes it is annoyances. But all of us have bad things that happen.  And sometimes it seems that they all come at once.

Last year was a horrible year for me.  Illness, loss of my husband, financial crisis, a major relationship issue, recent loss of my mother and it just seemed like it would not stop.  There were even little things that seemed to go wrong.

I felt that maybe it was me.  Maybe I had angered God so severely that I was being punished.  I read Job many times.  I had to be strong.  I had to get through this negative time in my life.  Somehow I had to find a way to exist and be happy.

I cannot say that my life is perfect now.  I recently had an unexpected flat tire, I have more to do than my old body wants to do and I get thrown a curve now and then.  But I am trying to keep those positives thoughts in my head.  I can control my way of looking at even the bad things that happen.

God promised to take care of me.  He has kept His promise.  It is my responsibility to be happy and have the right perspective.  Think happy.  Be happy.

STRESSED PEOPLE

The first time I went into public by myself after the death of my husband was to run a few errands.  I went to a shopping center to pick up a few things.

I don’t know why I noticed people more than usual.  Maybe it was because I was just more sensitive than before.  Maybe my perception of life had changed.

That day, I saw some very stressed, unhappy and harried folks.  It was still early in the day when you would think life would be easy going. This was after coffee, the kids are in school and you can get on to your time of day.

I saw people standing in the line to get checked out of the stores that were impatient. Looking at their watches.  Not impatient with the check out person, just worried about time and pressures of their “to do lists”.  I saw toddlers being dragged around stores that were certainly not happy about their situations.

Store after store, I observed these unhappy people.  Seemingly upset over mundane lists and life-centered problems.  They seemed to be preoccupied with daily errands and were stressed about chores so early in the morning.

I finally could take it no more.  In between stops, I parked and had a good cry. I wanted to turn to these people and shout, “STOP, PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT!”  Did they realize that those lists and those errands would be of no importance in a blink of an eye if they lost a loved one?

I wanted to shake them and say, “GO HOME AND HUG YOUR HUSBAND.  CARESS THAT TIRED TODDLER.  LISTEN TO THE TALES OF YOUR SIX YEAR OLD”.  We take for granted that they will be there tomorrow and we will have more time.

In reality, we all get caught up in the necessities of living.  We all have obligations to fulfill.  Some we care about and some we do not.  But there has to be a balance.

You have to put the love of God, the love of your special partner and the love of family at the top of the list.  All of the rest is filler.  Also, it cannot take more of the time and energy than you are willing to give.

Balance.

Knowing how to balance so that we aren’t stressed and that we can face each day relaxed and at peace.  I will guarantee that a morning prayer asking God to give us the grace to live an unstressed day and a day that focuses on the right things will be the answer.

Start by thanking Him that you have awakened to see another sunrise and that you will welcome Him by your side in all of your chores.  Ask Him to guide you in a balanced, loving day.

You will be amazed at how life takes on a different meaning.