A Cheerful Countenance


Have respect for yourself, and patience and compassion. With these, you can handle anything.

This morning I woke up to the light. Normally, of course, my day starts off in darkness; I like to get my run in before work and visit my morning buddies as well. But today is Sunday and rainy with a forecast of more snow later today. The birds are out, looking for the small morsels of food on the surface of the melting snow. Perhaps spring is near? My hope is that my run will not be disrupted by the seasonal hazard of black ice-such a drag for dedicated runners like myself!

The past week ended with a celebration. My youngest son turns 20 in a few days so we had a surprise birthday party for him last night.  The gathering was not large-just enough friends and family not to make it overwhelming for him.  For me, the night was the perfect metaphor for our present life. Laughter, love and the feeling that we were all at “home”.  As the party was winding down, I went upstairs to retrieve the coats for two of the guests. The sounds of boisterous conversation filled the house and my heart- a needed reminder that my life is beyond good.

Everyday I say the I am grateful and lucky. But there are times when I am utterly human-challenged by the things that I want more of in my life-money, time with my fiance’, etc. There are things that I want less of as well- the responsibilities of  home ownership (I know there’s a dead mouse somewhere in my basement-the stench is horrible!), less worries about the boys’ independent financial future and mine as well. And dealing with anything from my past can at times leave me with an emotional hangover.  I am sure that I could go on, but really, not one of us escapes life’s woes, worries, or trials.

The difference is simple. How we react, respond or move through conflict and challenge makes a huge difference in how life can treat us. And yes it is all about karma. I shared a meal with a friend of mine last week. We have recently gotten to know one another and he seemed surprised if not curious about my three recent stories regarding the abuse and other personal struggles that I had experienced. He has observed me consistently being cheerful and upbeat and wondered, is it real?

The winter climate makes for a contemplative season. I try to embrace it without examining my navel too much. I try  to allow for the clearing of my perceptive lenses during this season while I anxiously await the coming of spring.  In his recent blog post, “How about a Short Sermon?”, Rob Bell speaks of the difference between analysis and awareness  as he takes a second look at Psalm 118: “This is the Day that God has made.” He writes of how easy it is to become cynical about the war, poverty, divorce, addiction and betrayal that surrounds daily. He wonders,  Really, God made this? For him and for me it is not about getting stuck in the muck of life nor is it about “glossing over”  its horrors. It is about the awareness that yes it is ” rough and bloody and heartbreaking” but it is also full of beautiful potential and possibility.

February has been the month that has forced me to get down and dirty with both my present and my past and I suppose my future as well.  The process is both difficult and healthy. I had not realized that for some period in my life that corruption and abuse had become normal. Talk about glossing over! We cannot allow ourselves or anyone we care about to be maligned by others who believe that they have power and control over us. They are at ease with twisting the truth in order to not face the truth about themselves. Some of them are beyond redemption.

So what am I aware of?  That we don’t have to stay stuck.  That we have to consistently outsmart the corrupting influences in our lives. That life and love can begin anew. And is my cheerful disposition for real? Yes!

When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

2 thoughts on “A Cheerful Countenance

  1. This way of thinking, I taken up only recently. I am flabbergasted at how I could not see this before. Your post reassured me that no one can tell you how to live your life. Thank you.

    1. Thank you very much. I haven’t read this one in a while and just went back to read it before post my reply to you.

      Funny how I still have some of the same concerns BUT also it is reassuring to know how much more forward movement has occurred since then. And I continue to be grateful for the wondrous things life has brought me! 🙂

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