turning it around

I was gearing up for a political post today, and it was probably going to be a whiny one about how fed up I am with the way things are going in this country, and how in the 15 years I’ve been eligible to vote, neither party has nominated a candidate I could really get excited about voting for.

But, I’ve been thinking a lot about how everything is both positive and negative, and that it’s up to us to be happy and positive if we want life to be good.  Wouldn’t everyone be pleased if I was more positive? (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, read a few of my recent posts.)  I know poor Matt would. 

I’ve had a few great “a-ha” moments regarding this subject recently, and thought I’d share so you’d get what I’m trying to say.  A few weeks ago I was in a group conversation where complaints were raised about how early the stores begin their holiday decorating.  Christmas is getting so commercial, blah, blah, blah, you know the conversation.  A witty gentleman said, “yeah, I just hate it when going into Costco makes me think of Christ in October.”  So instead of complaining when the trees start going up right after July 4th, he thinks, every time I see a Christmas sale or decoration, I’m going to choose to reflect on the Savior, His birth, and His life.  Interesting.

During a discussion in a church lesson yesterday, a woman shared that she wondered why her adult daughter had chosen a “gingerbread cookie” scent for her bathroom air freshener (gross, right?) and her daughter had explained that it reminded her of the fun they had had making cookies for the holidays growing up.  Another woman shared that her mother had often woken her up on summer mornings with, “Would you like to have a garden party today?”  Even though the “garden party” really meant working in the yard, her mother could make anything fun. 

Now we’ve already established that I’m not a “fun mom,” and it’s certainly not going to be a party a minute around here, but I’ve been thinking, do I want my children in twenty years to think, “My mom sure knew how to make everything a drag”?

It’s not just about parenting either.  I’m trying really hard to think about the political process today with gratitude that we live in this free country.  I’ll go vote for someone tomorrow because it is my right to do so, and you know what?  Less than 100 years ago in this country, that was not the case.  See if thinking about that gives you a little chill, even if like me, all of the pundits are driving you nuts right now.

I’m not promising to never complain about anything ever again, because honestly, don’t people who are unfailingly positive get on your nerves sometimes?  But, I do want to continue to challenge myself to “keep on the sunny side.” With June Carter Cash.  Because isn’t the answer to any life question in the lyrics of a country song?


8 thoughts on “turning it around

  1. kira

    I agree about the voting thing – Aaron wasn’t sure he even wanted to vote, but I basically pushed him the polls ’cause it is an awesome opportunity to VOTE! Plus, we voted early…and I didn’t even have to wait in a line!! :) That was a really good feeling.

  2. Robin

    Looking on the bright side, at least the election will be OVER on Nov. 5th! (That is, unless we have another recount scenario..shudder!) Then, we can all get on with complaining about the new president.

    So, do I vote for the guy whose ideals I agree with, or the guy that I actually like better, based on personality alone? I’m still not entirely sure…

  3. Amy Brinton

    I was just talking with Eric’s mom about Randy Pauch, a professor whose “last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon last year was particularly inspiring. (In his case, the lecture actually was his last, as he was dying of pancreatic cancer.) His discussion about a balance between hope and realism made me ponder my outlook on life.

    I sometimes feel guilty for not having an “unfailingly positive” disposition. In many moments, I force myself to remain quiet so as to appear inwardly, positively meditative. I sometimes convince myself that a perennially positive disposition would result from either 1) cluelessness or 2) faking it.

    But I desire a positive personality; my family certainly appreciates my “sunny side.” So I’ve decided something: I’m going to have an attitude that reflects an honest balance between hope and realism. I’m hopeful for many things, including honest elected officials who retain the personal freedoms unique to America. I can feel positive about my role in supporting worthy ideals. But I’m also realistic. (In this election I’m having to be particularly realistic.) And realism isn’t pessimism. It’s hope, tempered.

  4. Angela

    I had an unusual opportunity the other day. My friend from Haiti and I were in a waiting room and forced to watch the news for forty minutes. The focus of the broadcast was the election. I was disgusted with how both sides were saying misleading things about the other side. I worried about what my immigrant friend must be thinking–I didn’t like for him to see this uglier side of America. However, my friend began to speak, and surprised me by saying: “This is so great!” He went on to explain that in his country when there are elections people get hurt, even killed. Often the winners of an election will use their power to ruin the losers–often they flee the country. It put things in perspective for me.

  5. Millie

    I love the comment about Christmas decorations for sale “making me think about Christ’s birth.” How refreshing.

    Hubby was just saying, he hope he doesn’t have to sit through another “Christmas is about Christ, not Santa” talk in church this year… yeah, we still need to hear it but let’s take your idea, and frame it differently.


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