Call me “the eternal optimist” but I choose to see the best in people and with all I have in me, attempt to look past what is not good! Given the state-of-affairs in our world, that is not easy and I can’t say I’m always successful. But when we can look past our personal struggles with those “ugly” components that “is life,” we have the potential to be a much happier person!
It was with delight, I bumped into an old friend not long ago. After exchanging pleasantries, we shared news about our families and all that’s gone on in our “very different worlds” over the past fifteen years!
“Times have been tough,” she said quietly. Then I saw her eyes sparkle, as she continued, completely changing her perspective. “But we’ve not been as bad off as some other people. A neighbor's wife, Layla, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. They were having a hard time financially and tried to hide it from the kids, but it seems they knew it, too. Most families do a “go fund me” thing on the internet to raise money, but Rachel, their oldest, age 13, decided she was going to help with expenses, and actually went door to door trying to raise money. Her method was a bit unusual. She had gorgeous hair that hung to her waist. She took a pair of scissors and offered to let people trim the bottom for a donation. She was gone about an hour, came back with short hair that ultimately needed a good trim, but had collected $2,500. Her folks were amazed! I think that just speaks volumes for the good hearts people really have.”
I hugged my friend! What a great story of encouragement! Life has a sneaky way of stressing us with everyday problems. But there’s an old adage, that says, “If you think you’re having a tough time, look around and likely you’ll see someone who has it worse than you!”
As humans, we tend to focus on our own worlds, especially if it seems to be crashing down around us. Because of our own needs, we often shut out others who are as bad, or worse off than we are, as we lament, the “what ifs, what next, I don’t believe this happened,” or grieve because we’ve lost a loved one or had a natural disaster wipe out everything we own. It’s hard. It can be a cruel world, and what’s worse, sometimes people are cruel, even if they don’t mean to be.
I challenge you to reflect on “your world.” Is there someone you can offer a word of encouragement to, do something kind for, or even just give the warmth of a heartfelt hug? Often it’s these kinds of acts that make the world a much nicer place and has the capacity to give us a “new, New Year’s perspective!”