Life is What we Make it

"The world is a looking-glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it in turn will look sourly at you; laugh at it, and with it, and it is a jolly, kind companion." (William Makepeace Thackeray 1811Ė1863)

It is amazing how two people can go through the same experience and get precisely opposite things out of it. Two prisoners looked out through the bars - one saw mud in the courtyard; the other saw stars in the heaven.

There is the story of two girls who went for a walk in the country. When they arrived back home, they were asked if they had enjoyed it. One talked about nothing but the dusty road, the flies and the heat and how uncomfortable it all was. The other girl spoke of a field of wildflowers and a glimpse of the sea at a bend in the road that she would never forget.

In my work I meet many elderly people. Some are miseries and complain about everything. They are upset about the weather, the government, their ailments, money or lack of it. After spending time in their company you can come away feeling almost as irritable as they are. There are others who are an absolute joy to be with. I knew one couple in their nineties, and no matter what their current situation was, life for them was a bundle of laughs. Later it was a privilege for me to conduct their funeral services with the sure knowledge that they had achieved everything possible out of life. I'm no medical expert but I do feel that there is a strong link between our attitude to life and our state of health. The state of mind has a lot to do with the state of body. It isnít our problems that are bothering us; it's the way we are looking at them.

Life is largely a question of attitude. Some see only the dark side, the gloom and doom. They go through life with a chip on their shoulder believing that they have been given a raw deal. Some take a positive view believing that every cloud has a silver lining. And life is very much what we make of it. Undoubtedly pessimism will draw us down to greater depths because it is self generating. Optimism likewise is self generating, it will encourage us and uplift those around us.

Pessimism - optimism. The thirsty man was given a glass of water. "But it is half empty" he complained. "No," said the giver, "It is half full."

Keep your eyes open - there is much to see and admire. And keep open your hearts - all that we are comes from God. Give thanks.

Ron Clarke JP An e-mail from Kingborough, near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

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