I’ve never been what anyone would consider an optimist. I’ve already said as much in a previous post. “Positive thinking” was about as alien to my world view as Nietzsche’s is to the Pope. Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale, and their ilk had no appeal for me. Rather, I avoided their philosophy like the plague I thought they were. (And to some extent, still do.)
Yet I’ve drifted more in that direction, strangely enough, since being diagnosed with MS. How the heck did that happen?
A primary reason for the shift is that the options for those dealing with chronic illness are limited, at best. We can either throw in the towel and moan our way to the grave or take on what my friends refer to as a PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. The appeal of the latter outlook grew enormously when I found through personal experience and observation that a positive outlook actually had a positive effect on my physical condition.
Tough choice, huh?
That PMA pops up on posts occasionally, as I actually try to find the silver lining on the storm cloud known as MS. This one is a prime example. This is another. If I’m not vigilant, negative guy sometimes slips into the writer’s chair and whips out a missive like this. Fortunately, I had someone take me to task, so I was able to give a more hopeful picture in this quasi-retraction post. I’ve got a few more stashed in my quiver that may or may not see the light of LED’s or whatever artificial illumination you’re reading.
I can credit following Christ with that change of attitude as well. The more I know Him, the closer I grow to Him, the more positive my outlook becomes. How can I be negative when I’m loved, appreciated, and celebrated by the Creator of the universe? How pessimistic can I be when I’m assured a place in His presence forever?
That doesn’t mean I’ve been transformed into a complete cockeyed optimist today. No, no, no. Far from it. I still subscribe to Lily Tomlin’s view of things when she says, “I try to be cynical, but I can’t keep up.” I’ve seen enough of the world to recognize how quickly and effectively it can render useless anyone’s rose-colored glasses. There’s far too much injustice, ugliness, and pain.
Yet positivity can be helpful there, too. I can’t change the whole world, but I can have a positive (there’s that word again!) effect on the narrow path through it that my footsteps tread each day.
So there I am, Mr. Sunshine and Roses, a smile on my face all day. The guy who, while falling from a 20-story building, passes people leaning out a 10th story window and tells them, “I’m alright so far!”
That is, I’ll be that guy as soon as all this godforsaken snow melts and the temperatures get out of the frozen gutter. Grrrrr…