This morning at church, a friend said to me, “Every time I see you, you have a smile on your face!”
My immediate response was, “Well, I live in Paradise, so why not smile?”
And while that is the truth, it really goes much deeper than that.
I smile because I’m happy with life.
But this happiness is more than a physical state of being – it’s also a mental and emotional place. I’ve long believed that happiness is a choice; one can choose to view things from an optimistic or pessimistic point of view. I believe my natural view is that of optimism.
Years of stress eroded that natural state. Worrying about things I could not control robbed me of the ability to “see the bright side” for a long while. It was like I walked around inside a shroud woven from fretful thoughts and worries. And while I could shake of some of it, unwrap the shroud a bit – it’s only been lately that I’ve been able to drop it completely.
How did that happen? It's an ongoing process of letting go, becoming comfortable, just being my natural self.
I’m learning to let go of things I cannot change. I’m learning to be comfortable with being who I really am, and not being worried if other folks don’t like me. I’m getting a grasp on better health for myself (something I’ve taken for granted far too long).
I walk outside nearly every day – the beauty of my surroundings never ceases to amaze me. Each step reminds me to give thanks for being able to see, hear, smell, and MOVE. Today, the skies were a cloudless blue expanse. The pine trees stand tall and stately, their green needles nearly sparkling in the sunshine. The lake, never still, reflects back the blue of the sky. Birds fly overhead or bob in the water. I’ve learned to identify great blue herons, white herons, cormorants, coots, wood ducks, red-tail hawks, and have even seen the occasional majestic bald eagle.
My husband David often says, “There is strength in surrender.” And I guess that’s what I’ve done. I’ve surrendered the “circumstances beyond my control” and grasped on to living – and loving -- life the way I think God means for us all to do.
By surrendering all the trappings, masks, and pretentiousness, I found my natural self. And I like her -- a lot!
And she is smiling!