Thursday, March 24, 2011

Half Empty or Half Full?

I'm sure we've all heard the adage: "It's important to see the cup half full." Some people see it half-empty on a frequent basis. Personality types are often determined by how we see that elusive cup. Sometimes it depends on the day. I've spent much of my life trying to see the cup half full. But there are days, like this entire past month, when that cup has been looking a tad bit on the empty side. True, I'm still wading through the grief that goes along with losing a good friend. (See post below.) One day I'm fine and figure I've moved on---the next day, not so much. It becomes a balancing act between forcing a smile and ignoring inner pain. One of the lifelines that helps me survive this process is having a sense of humor. A good laugh goes a long way toward easing turmoil. I've also learned that service is a great way to heal. Doing something for someone else chips away at the icebergs that sometimes erupt within our hearts.

We live in a challenging time. (Understatement of the year!) I suspect it has always been thus. There have always been wars and rumors of war. People have always struggled from day to day to make a living. I also think parenting has always been an adventure (think of how our first parents must have felt when one son killed the other--I'm just sayin'). I seriously doubt when we compare notes on the other side, we'll point fingers and say, "Oh, yeah, well you lived during an era of complete and utter peace. There were no trials, no disappointments, no heartaches." There might be one exception to this train of thought, and that would involve those lucky types who will dwell during the millennium, and I think even then, there may be a challenge or two to test their mettle.

Life is a test. My paternal grandmother used to tell me that this world is a giant classroom and we never know when we'll get hit with a pop quiz. Truer words were never spoken. I also think one of the most significant lessons we'll ever grasp during this mortal education is the importance of having a good attitude. This is often difficult when we're covered in something like boils (See the book of Job), swallowed by a whale (See the book of Jonah, or Pinocchio), or driving in Utah (see list of least friendly places to drive).

This attitude extends to how we treat each other. Are we nice to the poor clerk at the store who is paid minimum wage to endure the wrath of miffed bargain shoppers? Do we smile while waiting in the never-ending line at the post office? Are we overly-critical of others who don't measure up to our expectations? Do we take our very bad day out on the people who should mean the most to us?

Since we're all very different, we think in varying ways. We believe in all kinds of things, but there is one item we should consider: We are supposed to look on the bright side whenever possible and play nice with others. If you ever doubt this philosophy, review the Sermon on the Mount.

Bottom line, when this life is but a memory, the thing that will matter most is how we played the game. Were we fair, honest, obedient? Did we try to help others? Were we kind in our dealings with those around us? Did we bring joy into the world . . . or did others tip toe around us because our cup was half-empty and our attitude reflected this mindset? Something to ponder daily. Do we see the cup half-empty or half-full? This question may have eternal significance someday. Definitely a compelling point to consider.

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