A widely read book published in 1978 by Erma Bombeck is titled: “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” While not always, the answer often is: because one chooses to be there. Finding oneself in disconsolate circumstances might or might not be the result of one’s personal choices, but in any event one can either stay in the pits, dig the temperamental hole deeper, self-feed PLOM disease (Poor Little Old Me) . . . or take steps upward, onward, forward. The famed football coach, Vince Lombardi said it: “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.”
In the excellent mystery, Purgatory Ridge, by William Kent Krueger, we find these words: “Although life was far from perfect, it offered moments of perfection.” Only people out of touch with reality expect life to be perfect. All of us experience the plethora of imperfections. Which perspective dominates one’s life – the good or the bad – depends on one’s focus. Whether one is ruled by the positive or negative, the “moments of perfection” or imperfection, is a person’s choice.
The sad fact is that all too often people let the negative ten percent prevail over and against the positive ninety percent.
My paternal grandfather lost an arm in an industrial accident, yet my memories of him are of watching him cut the lawn and bounce me on his lap. He didn’t let the loss of a limb ruin his life.
Thirteen years ago our oldest child died while mountain climbing. My grief will never entirely disappear, but my relationship with our surviving two children brings unbounded joy. And the latter far outweighs the sorrow that attends Jeniffer’s death.
An ancient sage said that that before us is “life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you may live.” I choose blessings and life.