I try very hard to put a positive spin on the events in my life. After all, negativity tends to feed negativity, whereas as positivity breeds optimism. I can see how very much of my internal compass was tempered by the books I read as a child. Case in point, look on your library’s bookshelves. There, you will find 100-year old books about girls who had indomitable and cheerful spirits; they uplifted even the most cantankerous people in town with their kind hearts and winning smiles. One such book was called Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and another was Pollyanna. These novels shared the theme of how a sunny and optimistic disposition can bring light into the darkest days. Another significant influence on my perspective on life is easily traced to the Beatitudes, purportedly preached by Jesus at his Sermon on the Mount:
List of Beatitudes:
As of in Matthew 5:3-12:
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I mean no disrespect to those religious scholars amongst you by referring to Jesus, Polyanna and Rebecca in one breath. However, each, in its own way laid down the tracks on my psyche about how to deal with a life that, at times, seems imperfect and injust. I have looked for answers from Kahill Gibran to Ghandi, from Jonathon Livingson Seagull to Pooh Bear. Rabbi Kushner is yet another frequent advisor when I feel life’s challenges are outnumbering me. That inner mechanism that lifts us out of despair, allows us to feel empathy for others, and grants us the ability to bestow forgiveness upon ourselves and others seems to be a universal constant across time, culture and character. I have been fortunate to have had glimpses of that chimera-like secret for brief instances. When I have it pinpointed, I will certainly write a best-seller, be interviewed by Oprah and earn my own place in history.