The past few weeks have taken an emotional toll, and producing a worthwhile blog post after what my extended family and I have gone through just didn’t seem possible. But it occurred to me, finally, that I was missing an important point. I’m pretty much back to normal now, whatever “normal” is, and much of my restored normality is due to the kindness and caring of so many people in my life.
Several years ago, I posted the results of a little experiment I’d concocted. I had commented to my bride that I wanted to make a positive change in my life. Why I came to such a decision back then is a puzzle, since there had been no life-altering incidents in our lives to spark such a thing. It just felt right. Consequently, my resolution was equally low-drama. I simply decided that from then on, I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to say something positive to whomever I might be talking to.
I didn’t intend to go out of my way to find things to say or new and different people with whom to talk. My goal, if it could be boiled down to such a word, was simply to take advantage of those chances which came along to make a positive remark.
It’s been a long time since I made that modest resolution, and our lives have changed a great deal. We have a new home and a wealth of new friends, but the change I originally detected in myself pre-dated all that. I discovered, back then, that I felt a little happier, and I vowed to keep it up.
Fast forward to the present and the death in my family which had me so unbalanced. I’ve lost count of all the people who reached out to us offering comfort and compassion. It’s truly overwhelming, and there’s no way I can adequately express how much it means to have so many caring people in our lives.
Did my efforts to be a little more pleasant contribute to that? I’d like to think so. My bride has always been better at it than I. But I keep trying, because it makes me a happier person. The lagniappe is that I’m more productive when I’m happy. Now, if I could just lose a little weight….
Anyway, here’s a thought for anyone seeking to let a little more sunshine into their world: the next time you have the opportunity to talk to someone — friend, stranger, relative, whomever — find something nice to say. If you can’t say it about them, say it about the weather, or the future, or anything else that comes to mind. But say it.
Just know that it helps tremendously if you mean it.
PS: I haven’t given up on writing-related topics. I’ll get back to them next week.