The kids and I met my mom for lunch the other day. My 5-year-old was still noshing on her macaroni and cheese (she’s a very mindful and subsequently ssslllloooowwww eater), but Thomas the Todzilla (my name for our super-cute but super-destructive toddler) was getting antsy, so I took him and my 4-year-old outside. They were busy admiring some rocks when my 4-year-old noticed the large body of water adjacent to the parking lot.
“Look at the beautiful lake, Mommy!” she said.
I glanced in the direction she was pointing, and all I saw was an ugly retaining pond.
Give me a pair of rose-colored glasses, please.
There’s a tendency to assume happy people have just had an easier go of things, but something my children as well as my own Pollyanna of a Mom have taught me over and over again is that a joyful life often hinges upon how you choose to see things. The glass is half-full. Life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. I could go crazy with the cliches.
There is pain in the world, but there are so many people handing out band-aids and doing good things to help those who hurt (think of how people rally together after a natural disaster or after something tragic like the Boston Marathon bombing). There is sickness, but there is healing, too, and even when there isn’t, it could be worse. That’s what my mom says when she wakes up in the middle of the night with debilitating, searing pain that just won’t go away. It could be so much worse. I live such a blessed life, she says. (Sometimes I really want her to scream, “Life sucks! It’s not fair!” But she doesn’t, at least never to me.)
There are beautiful lakes and ugly retaining ponds. What will I choose to see?