It Truly Is Up To You

4 Feb

“Life is a mirror: if you frown at it, it frowns back; if you smile, it returns the greeting.”  ~ William Makepeace Thackeray

I hope you do not feel as if I am beating a dead horse, it’s just that this message cannot get said enough:  we are in charge of our days, we are in charge of our feelings, we are in charge of the manner in which we relate to the world.  Too often, people claim that the world let them down or that other people were rude or unaccommodating.  Yet, when confronted with evidence to the contrary, they will not admit that they were the antagonist to the day and the reason for their rotten feelings, not the other.

If you frown at life, or other people, for that matter, yes, life will frown back at you.  There are very few people I know who will treat a bleak, cheerless, angry face with a smile.  They will generally look askance.  But, if someone smiles at us, it is so easy to smile back, even if we are not feeling all that positive about ourselves at the moment.  And, when we smile back while not feeling positive, what usually happens?  We begin to feel better about ourselves.

Do yourself, do the world, a favor.  Cheer up.

I tell you, it really does work.  I will also tell you something that many might not know about me.  I am not always as cheerful as I seem.  There are many days that I wake up with a horrible sinus headache or with arthritis that makes me think I might not be able to walk.  Head pounding and joints aching, I go to the office and overcompensate with cheer.  The people that know me best will comment that I must really be hurting.  I ask why they would say that and they say, “Because you’re too cheerful and your eyes are black like raccoons.”  (I think they would rather have me overcompensating by attempting to be cheerful, though, rather than snapping heads off.)

When I go over to the office on those kinds of days trying to smile and spread cheer, I feel better.  And if I approach people cheerfully and positively, I have a chance to make them feel better about themselves.  If I make them feel better about themselves, they, in turn, will make me feel better about myself by spreading a little cheer my way.  It’s the opposite of the ol’ downward spiral.  Instead, my day has the chance to take on an upward spiral.

God never promised that each and every one of our days were going to be hunky dory.  He did promise, however, that if we remain faithful to him in this life, we will be brought home to Him for eternal life.  That’s the kind of upward spiral into which I can sink my teeth!

FAITH ACTION:  Knowing that you set the pace for your day, approach it with confidence and great cheer.

2 Replies to “It Truly Is Up To You

  1. I sent this to my daughter in college, who has been having a difficult time. She plans to print it out and put it on her bedroom wall to remind her to start each day with a positive attitude. Thank you, Fr. Mike!

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