deciding to be happy

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
-Abraham Lincoln

I spent an hour visiting my sister Jodi today.  Being around her just makes me happy.  She always knows how to find the bright side, even in the darkest and most miserable of times.  Even when the last thing she feels like doing is smiling.

I don’t think it comes easily to her, in fact I know it doesn’t.  She works at it and is determined to find a glimmer of hope, something to hang on to — and THIS is what inspires me.  She fights for the bright side.

My sister is having surgery in less than a week.  At this point she is still in a brace and has pain (she tore her ACL and meniscus while skiing a few weeks ago) but she is walking/hobbling around and the discomfort is manageable.  By no means is life normal for her at this point – she is still moving slowly, not able to work as much as she wants/needs to, and gets tired SO easily.  After her surgery she is going to be back at square one again – in even more pain and with a long journey of recovery ahead of her.  It is going to be tough.

But you know what?  Today she told me that yes, she is mad about it all and just wants her life back.  As a Pilates teacher and a runner, having a knee injury like this pretty much cuts her off from her life lines.  And it stinks.  I can’t imagine how I would deal with it – surely not as graciously as she is!  BUT she said that she knows that she is surrounded by goodness and blessings and that she has SO much to be grateful for, even with this bum knee.  And that is what she is going to hang on to right now.  Because the alternative — well, there are so many alternatives that could be so much worse than where she is at this very moment.  It could be so much worse.

When things don’t go the way we want them to, we are entitled to be angry.  To feel sad.  To yell and scream and complain and cry and vent.  That’s fair and normal – and healthy even!  To a certain extent.  But we cannot let those feelings consume us.  We have got to move on from them.  Because being miserable will only make us more miserable.

We are in charge of our own perspectives and attitudes.  We have to make up our minds to be happy.  To make the most of it and find the bright side.  Even if we have to fight for it.

9 thoughts on “deciding to be happy

  1. I am really sorry to hear your sister is going through this. It sounds very similar to one of my co-workers' experiences last winter (she was also a runner; stories like this are why I've lost what little interest I had in learning to downhill ski). I wish your sister the very best and I'm glad she's staying mostly upbeat!

  2. So so true. It is a choice about how you choose to respond to a situation. Believe me, it is extremely hard and frustrating to go back to square one and relearn everything about your body after surgery but having perspective helps a lot. I hope your sister's surgery goes well. She will heal and come back strong no doubt.

  3. So well said, I love this post. I just found out my dad as a serious heart issue. Panic set in, being sad, upset, angry…but I can't let it consume me…which i think would bother my father as well! Your sister sounds like a strong woman! Good luck to her and I hope she recovers well and soon.

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