Maybe it’s because it is a new year, or maybe somebody “up there” is trying to tell me something — I’m not sure which — but I’m learning that perspective can change lives — or at least mine.
I ran across an idea on the social media site “Pinterest” — yes, I admit to that addiction — to each night write on a scrap of paper something that made you smile that day, or a blessing received, and place it in a jar. It was suggested that at the end of the year, the papers can be read so you can see all the good things that happened to you during the year. My first thought was “What a clever idea!” followed by “I’ll never follow through.” The idea intrigued me enough to try it. After ten days, I’ve decided this is well worth 30 seconds at the end of my day. I don’t think I’m the only one who sometimes goes through the motions of life without stopping to think about the good things which happen. In just ten days, I’ve seen my attitude improve as I stop for a few seconds at the end of each day to remember what made me smile and count my blessings. I go to bed at night thinking about happy things, and I wake up in the morning wondering what the day will bring for the jar. Little scraps of paper have changed my perspective on daily life at my house.
My backyard is muddy from 11 plus inches of rain this winter, which means muddy dog paw prints on the outside of the sliding glass door that leads to the backyard from our family room. My husband and I spend a lot of time in that room, looking out that door at the outside world. We watch the birds, the squirrels, and the dog chasing the squirrels. We watch roses bloom and leaves (and pecans) drop from the trees. I have washed the paw prints off that door on a regular basis this winter — grumbling each time that this dog I adore can’t wipe his feet. This morning as I let him back in from the frost bitten grass, I looked at those paw prints and thought, “I’m so glad his back is healed so he can jump up on the door again.” Last year our little guy injured his back, and for several months we gently had to pick him up and carry him down the back steps when he had to go outside. Perspective.
Adoption is often on my mind, as two of my grandchildren are adopted. The recent news from Russia that Putin has banned Americans from adopting Russian children has made me very sad — for the children, and for would be adoptive parents. This morning I read an article In Meridian Magazine written by a friend, Erin Ann McBride, which gave me new insight. While I was moaning and groaning about the situation, it never occurred to me that there were certain things I personally could do to change it. As the author points out, I can pray for the children, pray for the adoptive families, pray for Putin and his parliament, and make sure that I never do anything that can be perceived as “ugly American.” Perspective again.
Last year was difficult for me on many levels. I spent a lot of time mourning losses and wishing things could be different. The last couple of months my attitude has totally changed. While I can’t change certain situations, I have the ability (and responsibility) to make something good come from them. I can take bad karma and turn it into something positive. That realization has put me back on the road to success. What do I want out of life? Happiness. How do I achieve that goal? Turn negatives into positives, gain perspective, and be happy.