Choose Happy

When I worked, I dropped the kids off at the school’s before care. I noticed by the sign in sheet is a small metal bucket filled with mints. A note on the front reads “CHOOSE HAPPY.”

Every time I’d pop a mint after signing in the kids and head to my car, a smile on my face.

It really is a choice, isn’t it?

Every day I wake up I have a choice.

  • I can be pissy that I hurt and that it takes a good 20 minutes for all my joints to warm up.
  • I can be glad that I woke up to another day.

Either way, I still have the pain and stiffness. The only thing I can change is my attitude and my outlook. I’ve done the “pissy” bit. Not fun. It’s also exhausting, and I really couldn’t stand myself that way.

From now on I’m choosing happy.

In my faith tradition there is a morning prayer, Modeh Ani, that is a prayer of thanksgiving for another day. I realize that not everyone who went to bed the night before woke up this morning, and that not everyone that woke today will wake tomorrow.

Each day is a gift. It is mine to do with as I see fit. I can wallow in despair, or I can live as best I can.

My kids are watching. My congregation is watching. My life can be used for good or wasted. Yeah, there are bad days when I think “why me? Why am I so sick? Why did my kidneys have to fail? It’s just not fair.” And no, it’s not fair.

What you focus on, grows. I don’t know about you, but I could use an overdose of JOY, not of sorrow.

This world is full of art and music and kindness and love. The positive stories don’t get the attention that hate and war and violence do. Maybe part of my role is to amplify the good in the world.

Tomorrow night is the final night of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. When you look at a menorah, you see spots for nine candles. The festival is eight days long, one candle for each night. So what’s the deal with the extra candle?

That extra is called the shamash. It’s the candle that is used to light all the others. That’s what I want to be. I’m tired of the darkness, tired of the sadness. While it’s not realistic to expect positivity all the time, I can definitely make it a practice to seek the good.

What will you focus on? Which energy will you feed?

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