The upside of positive thinking

Posted 3/7/23

People often said that my mother was a saint.  Except for the hiccup after my brother was born with disabilities, she spouted happiness, joy and positive thinking. She could find something good …

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The upside of positive thinking


People often said that my mother was a saint.  Except for the hiccup after my brother was born with disabilities, she spouted happiness, joy and positive thinking. She could find something good in just about everything. If it were snowing out, she would say “How wonderful!  Isn’t it so pretty? We can have fun sledding in our backyard.” If it were raining, she would say “How wonderful! The lake needed a little extra water, and the flowers needed watering.” She could find the good in everything and everyone, and, luckily, she passed that trait along to me, (as if having a happy spirit can be inherited.)

So, I have been fortunate to live a happy life.  When growing up with my family, we did not have much money. Before each school year, we would go shopping at Shoppers’ World and I would be able to pick out 2 outfits, one to wear 3 days a week and one to wear on the alternating days. We never ate out at a restaurant until my parents took us to the Cape Cod Restaurant in Cranston for their 25th wedding anniversary where I ate my first commercially prepared ice cream sundae. Despite being “financially careful”, I always had love and acceptance, and it was a very happy childhood with no worries or traumas.

Whereas many people have angst over political issues, I maintain my happiness by steering away from political discussions, including about our current and past president. It boggles my mind that Trump is 76 years old, and Biden is 80. I am not yet that old, and working part-time is enough for me.  I would never have the stamina to run a country, a 24/7 job, because I would need an afternoon nap. How crazy is our electoral process?

I cannot digest the fact that 828 million people in the world are starving. The number is too large to assimilate or to ignore. To absolve my conscience, I regularly contribute food items to the local food pantry, give a small check to food pantries to purchase turkeys for Thanksgiving, and make up small bags of non-perishable food items for the homeless who attend the Church Beyond Walls.  My favorite thing to do is to give Christmas gifts to relatives and friends from the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.) This program will provide a gift of chicks for $10, honeybees for $20, pigs for $30, or a cow for $50 to a starving family in one of 80 countries. It is a “win win” situation whereby friends and relatives who do not want expensive gifts are happy to accept the donations in their honor. Yes, starvation and food distribution around the world is a serious issue, but I do not lament about it and do what I can do.

My natural ability to accept people as they are has been a Godsend. If I accept everyone, faults and all, I never have cause to complain.  My office mate likes to play the radio while she works, which is distracting.  Instead of getting annoyed, I wear a pair of noise cancelling headphones.  She thinks I am listening to music through them, but in reality, I am listening to silence, which allows me to get my work done. If an elderly relative monopolizes the conversation at a holiday celebration, I listen politely, getting my history lesson from someone who has “been there, done that.” Others may steer clear of this person, but he/she will get my full attention. If a disheveled homeless person is walking down the sidewalk with a limp and tattered clothing, I do not cross over to the other side of the street but smile a broad smile and say hello. The ability to not find fault with anyone relieves me of potential aggravation. “God don’t make junk”, my mother used to say, and if there are imperfect human beings walking around, I will join them because I am not perfect either.

I definitely see life through “rose colored glasses”, but it has been a wonderful life! Such is the upside of positive thinking.  


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