The trick is not how much pain you feel - but how much joy you feel.
Any idiot can feel pain.
Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live, excuses, excuses, excuses.
For several years now I've made it a point to run amuck on Sunday mornings and dive headfirst into any topic outside photography. It's getting harder and harder to find something to write about that's different from a thousand plus Sundays of the past.
This past week I caught up with an old buddy who commented on how over all the years we've known each other I haven't changed. We laughed over a few of our past adventures, and as I sit here writing this morning, I'm thinking about whether or not I have changed.
The truth is I've changed in a lot of ways. I've made mistakes; have regrets and have isolated moments where I wish specific things were different. However, the one core that drives everything I do is my ability to be an eternal optimist. Part of this is learned, but it's also in my genes.
I grew up with Grandmothers who loved expressions like, "Don't cry over spilled milk." "A stitch in time saves nine," "Every cloud has a silver lining," and the list goes on and on. My Dad, at the height of dealing with my mother's Alzheimer's once said, "I'm going to squeeze every drop of joy we have left and never let it go!"
And then there's my wife Sheila, who's known more pain than anybody I know. Twenty years ago she lost three brothers and her parents over a five year period. She was the one person in her family to have the strength to bury them all and still have a belief in life, God and the pure joy of just being alive. And that's a big piece of what I fell in love with - her zest for life.
When we put in our butterfly garden, we wanted a water feature, and that's the three monoliths in the photograph above. The feature is a memorial to her three brothers. That's "Alan" in the middle, "Wally" on the right and "Jimmy" on the left. It was my idea because while I never knew them, I know they're watching over us. As sad as it is to have lost them, it's a tribute to them and life.
So, here's my point this morning and Erica Jong said it best in the quote above, "Any idiot can feel pain." Just like me, you have a choice in your perspective about today and all your tomorrows. If you want to be miserable, it's your choice, but what a kick if you can teach yourself to wake up smiling every morning. Then, take whatever comes along, whether good or bad, as another component in a pretty amazing life...yours. And if you're buried in excess baggage from the past and at times feel like you can't get out of your own way, then remember one thing, "broken crayons still color!"
Wishing everybody a Sunday filled with joy and lots of color. Never miss an eleven-second therapeutic hug with people who are special in your life. As photographers, we all love the feel of a well-printed black and white photograph, but fortunately, life isn't black and white. Make today a day where you appreciate the love around you, the peace in your life and especially your power to change the world - even if it's only your tiny piece of it. That' where all the color is!
Happy Sunday everybody!
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