Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Less Miserable

A few months ago I was with K, N, Adventure Boy, Creative Guy and Grammy for a birthday/Oscar party night.  We all sat around the dinner table enjoying BBQ ribs and watching the beautiful people on TV being awarded for their movie efforts.  Les Miserables was up for some award and N started to make a comment about the movie saying, "Le Miserables...".  Creative Guy, the 8 year old young reader, looked at the TV screen and said "No Dad, it's LESS miserable."  All the adults in the room shared a look and tried really hard not to giggle too much.

I told the Bachelor Viewing crew that and we laughed and laughed and laughed.  It was a completely innocent remark on the part of a young reader and yet...

A few weeks ago I was walking down the sidewalk towards the light rail.  I tend to smile at people if we make eye contact and as I passed a lady she returned my smile with a big smile of her own.  I almost stopped on the sidewalk in shock.  I'm so used to smiling at people and getting nothing, NOTHING in return.  People either don't want to smile back and thereby invite a complete stranger to talk with them or they just aren't happy and so they don't smile.

I've been in the "just not happy" place in life.  I've done my fair share of whining and yet that simple statement by my 8 year old godson has had me thinking...less miserable.

I believe there are people who live life to be miserable.  I KNOW people who are determined to be miserable.  Something happens that annoys them the slightest bit and the drama begins.  Huge, sweeping, dramatic statements are made.  Everyone is out to get them.  Nothing goes their way EVER.  They move from one place of unhappiness to another, destined determined to be miserable.  They are also determined to make everyone around them miserable as well...or at least determined to see the world in a negative manner.

I can't live that way.  There are big, awful things happening in the world.  There are awful things happening all over the world that we simply don't hear about.  Not just awful, horrific, unspeakable acts occur all the time that we in US never, ever hear about.  In light of that, the fact that I'm not 100% happy right now doesn't mean much.  I look at my life and I see a lot to be less miserable about.  A roof over my head, a family that loves me, a God who offers grace and compassion all the time, friends who make me laugh, a job that doesn't stink, a car that works most of the time now, some money less money in the bank because of said car.  Not perfect but definitely not miserable.

There is a part of me convinced that being miserable is a state of mind.  I can choose to dwell on the crappy things in life, I can choose to think about the good things.  I can choose to remind myself over and over again about those qualities I find lacking or I can choose to remember the gifts and talents I've been blessed with.  I can choose to feel miserable or I can choose to be less miserable.

Some days it is admittedly harder than others to choose the less miserable point of view and yet today I think I am going to take a lesson, however inadvertent, from an 8 year old and be less miserable.

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