Friday, May 13, 2016

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  ― Edith Wharton

There is little doubt and almost universal acceptance by the experts that having a positive attitude is very good for you.  It’s good emotionally and physically and medically.  More people recover faster, have fewer side effects from chemotherapy, and live longer and happier lives—if they are glass-half-full kind of people.  What is seldom touched upon and for which there is little scientific evidence is the effect that your upbeat and positive attitude has on other people, on those near you and on those who don’t even know you.  Robert Browing, the British poet, in 1841 wrote a verse drama in four parts that illustrate a very extreme version of this, but it still could happen.  The work is called “Pippa Passes” and it’s about the wonderful effect that a young girl has on people she doesn’t know and in most cases doesn’t even see.  On a New Year’s morning, her only holiday for the entire year, Pippa, an impoverished young silk-winder, sings as she wanders aimlessly. In each section of the poem, people who are at critical points in their lives make significant and far-reaching decisions that change their lives for the better when they hear Pippa sing as she passes by.  This is the song she sings.  You will probably recognize the last two lines:

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven—
All’s right with the world!

I don’t have any empirical data to prove that others’ positive attitudes help those around them.  I can personally attest to the impact on my life just five months ago by the upbeat and positive attitudes of my heart doctor, the nurses who cared for me, the two physical therapists who worked with me, and the German missionary who was instrumental in getting me by air ambulance to Nairobi and who visited every day, and who took me into his home for my recovery, and who arranged for a physical therapist to come to his home.  That man, Patrick, taught me to climb stairs even with severely torn ligaments in my right ankle so that I could climb up into the plane to take me back home to Tanzania.  I can also attest to the incredible impact that my wife’s attitude and willingness to help me with exercises and do things to help care for me that I would never have asked anyone to do, but her love was that strong.  I can also confirm that the many prayers, emails, Facebook posts, and other forms of encouragement that came from all over the world also worked wonders.  We had no money and the bill was over $15,000 but family, friends, and people we had never met and didn’t know stepped up and paid it all.  I’d like to say I was singing a happy song like Pippa, but I did stay upbeat and believed I would be better and that worked.  If birds singing outside my window in the morning can brighten my day, think how much you can make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling by radiating your own positive attitude whenever you are near them or in your communications with them.  You are important in the recovery and lives of those in pain and who are suffering.  If you are a glass-half-full kind of person, share it—freely.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

If you want to see how much better I've become from almost dying and unable to stand five months ago just click on this link--
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycSwzo5Jeug

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