It's easy to let the stress, the worry, the anxiety, the monotony, the banality of it all consume us. To fill our heads, and our hearts.
It's easy to overlook the positive.
For some of us, the positive is harder to see than it is for others. For some of us, we have to dig pretty deep to find it. Like elbow-deep. Eyeball deep.
Sometimes, finding the positive is like looking at one of those god-forsaken Magic Eye pictures. While everyone around you exhales with relief as they finally see the hidden image, you stand there squinting, tilting your head, trying desperately to see it.
Here's a little tip from me to you: Stop squinting. Not only will it give you wrinkles, it's not necessary.
Open up your eyes. Look around you. The positive? IT'S EVERYWHERE. It's all around you, floating through the air like fairy dust, settling in your hair, on the furniture, gathering up in clumps under your bed. It's settled into drifts out in the front yard, it coats your windshield and fogs the big window in the living room like frost.
It's that stranger who stops and helps you fix a flat. It's the weight of a child as they settle into your lap. It's the sweet old man at the food shelf who not only helps you load up your car, but actually thanks you for stopping by. It's the teacher who loves your child, the friend who seems to just know when you need a hug (or an alibi). It's the parent who would lay down their life for their child, the dog who sits with you while you cry, the husband and wife at your church who provide camp scholarships in honor of their lost, and beloved, son. It's your friend's husband who pulls your car out of a ditch, brings you a box of meat after their weekend hunt, or welcomes you and your kids at their cabin every summer.
It's that unexpected surprise in your mailbox that means you can get a few Christmas presents for your kids. It's the guy at the bank who looks at you and sees his struggling single mom and decides to give you a break. It's every single person in your life who doesn't judge, who loves you simply for who you are and who is a willing participant in your life.
It's the judge who sees injustice and finally, finally fixes it. It's the sweet landlord who takes a huge chance on you. It's the women who ask you to sub for them, before anyone else, because they know you need the money. It's the lady at the gym, who greets you with a "Hey! How are you?" at 5:00 in the morning. It's the neighbor who always has a half cup of milk, an extra stick of butter or a plate of chocolate chip cookies. It's the friend who supplied your kids with notebooks, pencils and reams of filler paper back in September. It's the person who lives in another state, a person you've never met face to face, who has reached out and tweaked your heart with amazing grace and love.
In case you haven't figured it out, these are just some of the positives I've seen in my life over the past year or so. I used to let the awfulness of life weigh me down. I used to wallow in it, let it consume me and let it determine how I went about my days. It used to define me.
But not anymore.
I stopped squinting and I saw all of the good that was right there in front of me. It envelops me, and my kids, lifts us up, keeps us going, pushes us when we need it and holds us when we rest.
And for that, I am thankful.
Be well, my friends. Celebrate all that you have today, and every day. Thank those who have enriched your lives, and the lives of your loved ones. Live your life with your eyes, and your hearts and minds, wide open.
You will be amazed by what you see.