Thank God for Support Groups!

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.

be positive artSeveral 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.

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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11 Responses to Thank God for Support Groups!

  1. sonyabravermanaolcom says:

    Back in the olden days, I went to kindergarten to learn two things: Be Nice and Share. So many of us have forgotten how important those lessons are. Josh, you’re a really nice guy. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. Amanda Robinson says:

    Josh, you’re one of the most positive people I know. I hope each coming day brings you closer to feeling normal. I just got home from a month in France. One of the highlights was visiting the book store Shakespeare and Company in Paris. I had a great time rambling through that rabbit warren full of books. My purchase was Stephen King’s “On Writing,” which you had recommended in your writing class. I read it while in Paris. Great book. Thanks!

  3. Charmayne says:


    You have always been a sunbeam. Even in devastating times you reach out, embrace hope and spread it around. Shine on Josh.

  4. Linda Bowman says:

    Josh, although I have not been to one of your classes lately, I have been a devoted follower of your blog. This one I must say really touched my heart. Thank you for always pushing us to think beyond the present and focus on what is really important. After losing my parents and sister this lesson appeared again and again. Yet at times it is easy to get caught up in the daily issues of life and lose the clarity of that message. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Susanne says:

    I’m a cloud, often a cumulonimbus, but I truly appreciate the sun when it comes and I appreciate your reminder that we can make our own sunshine.

  6. Doris Reidy says:

    The encouragement and help you’ve given so many of us in your writing classes has changed lives. I know it changed mine.

  7. Betty says:

    You have been my number one cheerleader since I started on this writing adventure. Thank you.

  8. Gerald W. Flinchum says:

    Josh Langston made a very positive contribution in my life. Because of Josh and taking one of his classes at OLLI, I’m also teaching classes at OLLI, something I’ve wanted to do for over 35 years.
    Josh has always been a positive influence since our college days (1968-1969) and he’s just as inspirational now as he was back in those days. Don’t change Man, we grow stronger with age!

  9. polinto says:

    I so agree. You have always been able to brighten someone’s day with a kind word, a genuine smile, or a silly insult. When I found out you were Annie’s husband, I knew you were a special guy.

  10. An-l says:

    Josh, You have helped me through so many turbulent times with your encouragement, teaching, and laughter. You have lifted me up when I didn’t feel like being lifted up and made me smile when I didn’t think I would ever smile again. Your friendship and support have meant the world to me. I sincerely appreciate you and Annie and think you are two of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you for being my loyal friends.

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