Faith vs Fear

Faith vs Fear

Friday, April 23, 2010

Choosing Attitudes

Someone sent me this in an e-mail (one of those "forward this one on" kind of e-mails), and I like it so much I wanted to share it here:
"John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'
"He was a natural motivator.
"If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.
"Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!'
" 'You can't be a positive person all of the time.
"How do you do it?'
"He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.'
"Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.
"Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
" 'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.
" 'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.
"You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'
"I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
"Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
"After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.
"I saw him about six months after the accident.
"When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?'
"I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
" 'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'
" 'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.
"He continued, '...the paramedics were great.
"They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.'
" 'What did you do?' I asked.
" 'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity''
"Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'
"He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude....I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.
"Attitude, after all, is everything. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34.
"After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday."

The first time I heard this theory I was in college. I tried putting it to the test one cold winter day when a young man I was dating was late picking me up. He was delightful, but habitually late, and I was really cold and really irritated, when I remembered hearing this lesson one day in a class. I tried putting myself in my friend's place, and realized he was undoubtedly frustrated and would come get me as soon as possible. (This was before cell phones.) It worked! I wasn't mad when he finally arrived, and he appreciated the fact that I didn't yell at him about something that wasn't his fault.

And that same attitude is something I admire about David. Even when he's having one of his bad days, he refuses to succumb to it. He might sit and mope for a day or two, but then he gets up and keeps going, even when it is so hard for him to do. He's been a little down the last few days because of stress relating to taking care of my old car, but I don't doubt he'll pull it together to carry on.
Family update: Our Katie had her baby on Monday night! (Another stressful, but happy event.) Little Sierra Rose weighed in at 6 lbs. 15 oz. and looks a lot like her mama. It's an awe-inspiring sight to see a brand-new baby arrive in the world. And watching my baby suddenly become a mother was amazing. She and her husband Kevin will be great parents, and I'm sure Sierra will be well-dressed and cared for!
I am also pleased to say that I planted some peony and dahlia bulbs last weekend, and the weather cooperated by watering them this week. I'm hoping to get some annuals planted as well as a small vegetable garden when we get back from our trip next week to Seattle.


  1. Congrats on baby Sierra Rose (love that name!)Have a great trip to the PNW--wishing you safety and -- hopefully -- some sunny weather:)
    Great post BTW and so true!

  2. Thanks a lot for this post. To be honest, I usually find email forwards like these to be pretty cheesy, but if it strikes you at the right moment, it might be all you need. I sat down tonight fully prepared to write a very self-indulgent, "poor me" blog post about feeling envy. But instead, I made a choice. I took a breath, let the feelings go, and focused on what made me feel grateful instead, and my entire attitude, and subsequent blog post, changed. I can't say that I got the idea that we have choice in our attitudes exclusively from this post, but I can definitely say that it was a timely reminder to read it just before feeling bad for myself. So thank you very much. Oh and if you want to read what I ended up writing, it's here

  3. Congrats on the grand baby, but I still think you are too young to be a grand mommy. Mazel Tov! And meows!

  4. Thank you Susan and Aimee; we're happy to have her here. Sonyasworld: I'm glad it was helpful for you. I'm not usually a fan of those type of e-mails either, but this one described my feeling on the subject so well that I had to share.


Welcome! I'm so glad you dropped by. I'm always happy to hear what you have to say.