I’m convinced that there are two ways I can look at my life. There’s nothing overly profound about this revelation which unraveled one evening while reading a book to my three year olds, a book about two very beloved and dear creatures that many children have grown to cherish, a Winnie the Pooh book but more specifically my thoughts arose through the antics of two of Pooh’s favorite sidekicks, his closest friends, Tigger and Eeyore.
Tiger – full of life, vitality, energy, bounce and spunk. Everyone loves Tigger. Tigger is faced with different predicaments in his life but his voice always shouts back, “That’s ok buddy boy!” and he keeps on bouncing, and not only bouncing, but his bounces get higher and higher – ultimately closer to the Heavens. He acknowledges the negative circumstances that he faces but then moves forward by CHOOSING to focus his attention and energy on the positives.
In comparison to this loveable guy, there’s Eeyore. Eeyore really annoys me, probably because he goes against my entire life philosophy of “Just keep livin!” Eeyore is king wallower, head hung low, full of a woe is me attitude, always looking for pity from everyone else around him. Eeyore, unlike Tigger, ONLY sees the negative. The negative becomes so large and all – encompassing that it clouds over any positive – to the point where in Eeyore’s mind there is nothing to be thankful for. This becomes his reality – his perception of life is shaped because of the cloud of negativity he has allowed to overtake his existence.
Bad circumstances will occur to every single person who walks upon this earth. There is no getting around it, as humans we are faced with hardships. It becomes our choice as to how we respond to those situations. When we wallow in sorrow and seek out attention for the negativity in our lives, we act like Eeyore. We create a huge cloud of darkness that hangs over every aspect of our lives, not allowing any sunlight to filter through for a glimpse of the blessing that still remains in spite of the difficulty. The act of wallowing according to the dictionary is to “live self -indulgently, revel, to wallow in sentimentality, to flounder about, move along or proceed clumsily or with difficulty.” This is exactly the way Eeyore lives his life, he self – indulgently moves about slowly, muttering woe is me comments, reveling in his own pain.
The concept of remembering, however, is a “recalling to the mind by an act or effort of memory; think of again” a very different trait than wallowing. When we remember something we acknowledge that it occurred, we are able to bring it to our memory and then in moving forward as a Tigger, we choose to find the silver lining, understanding the blessings of our life rather than focusing on the pain. In other words, we begin bouncing.
Sad generally sells over joy, proof seen in any newspaper, most riddled with sad, tragic stories. It is human nature to fixate upon pain and suffering because it makes our own pain more bearable to know that there are others in the world floundering as much as we are. There’s a lot of truth behind the saying, “Misery loves company” and it also tends to be in our nature to become envious when we recognize blessing and joys in others lives; especially when we don’t possess the same peace and joy in our own lives.
My son Caleb was recently reflecting on his late father’s death, commenting on a specific aspect of their relationship that he missed. It wasn’t a wallow moment, in fact, it was very much a remembering moment for in the same breath as his recollection he turned to me and said, “But I’m lucky because God gave me two good dads.”
If a ten year old has the ability to bounce after his late father’s death, I have to believe that most of us can as well.
Just keep livin!!