Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Shouts and Murmers: Looking at life’s time and place

August 1, 2001

Where are you going on vacation this summer? It's almost become a rote conversation starter like how are you doing today.
The weather may be hot. Summer may be long. But I don't plan to go anywhere. For one reason I'm happy here.
Each day I awaken with one of the nicest men in the world. Why, knowing that I'm one of the luckiest women alive as far as a beautiful and romantic marriage is concerned, would I think I'd need to travel somewhere else to find contentment.
I have contentment, I have family and friends, peace, beautiful scenery everywhere I look, as well as a job I love all right here in my hometown of Tonganoxie.

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    Attitude is a choice. A man I interviewed recently made a comment about how he greets trying situations:
    "I would rather smile than frown I'd rather laugh than cry," he said, continuing, "The reason I'm 48 years old and I don't have more gray hair is that I don't worry God will take care of it."
    His attitude, that much of life is a choice, reminds me of Mrs. McBroom, who in the 1960s lived across from the grade school and would invite children to her house to make crafts. Most of us who went there, at one time or another, made a plaster cast of the serenity prayer:
    "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
    What a great philosophy to introduce to a child. It takes clearsightedness to look at life and determine what situations are changeable, and what are not.
    Ten years ago when facing a major life dilemma, I asked a friend what I should do. He said. "Do what you think is right and ask me again in 10 years."
    Divining life's chosen pathways is a risky game sometimes it seems easier, safer somehow, to accept life as it is. Change is scary. But if we realize that life is not a dress rehearsal and that no one can play our role but us, we might just decide to go ahead and take the plunge.
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    Aging is a progression of diminishing alternatives, someone once told me. He was nearing retirement and considering his future, which apparently he considered bleak.
    I jotted his words down, not quite understanding what he meant.
    But now, years later, it's beginning to make sense. However, I think a more positive spin would be that aging is a progression of changing alternatives.
    A 40-year-old man might not be the linebacker he once was, but maybe he's a pro on the golf course. Or maybe he's a volunteer coach, working with recreation leagues.
    One of my favorite people in St. John, Kan., is a 90-year-old retired school counselor. She can't work with youth or counsel them every day like she used to so now she writes books. She's still reaching out to people, but in an alternative way.
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    Throughout life, it's wise to keep on the lookout for alternatives, to know what new paths we might take.
    We never know what our last day on earth will be and so it's best to live to the best of our ability each and every day to awaken each day with eyes wide open, ready to make of life the most that we can.
    This summer, the community has been hard hit by the deaths of several residents who died at a relatively young age. Last week, the brother of one of these people told me that life doesn't pick us up and shake us into a wakeup call, it just ends sooner than we think.
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    And so when it comes to a summer vacation I'm already there. Why when I'm so happy in this world would I ever want to go anyplace else?

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