I wrote two poems last week and sent them to a friend. He liked the poems. His analysis was— they were good, but dour. His analysis caused me to reflect about my attitude. I soon realized, COVID, politics, and cultural problems have shaded my outlook in recent months.
I decided to look for the happy around me and put some sunshine in my thinking, as well as remember the joy promised by my faith.
I did not have to look far or too long.
Jeny’s birthday was Monday. What a joy to see the many friends and family reaching out and sharing their love for my special companion. It is easy to find joy in her and in the relationships of family and friends.
More Good News— One of our special set of friends is an outstanding black family in our church. Reaching across the racial divide in our country, it is a real joy to celebrate the graduation from the Naval Academy of their youngest son. His brother graduated a few years ago and serves as a Marine helicopter pilot. They will both be home for their younger sister’s wedding this weekend. She served in the mission field in China for two years. It will be another grand celebration. When I see all of the cultural problems in our nation, it brings tears of joy to my eyes to be a small part of a successful relationship.
A test of my happy life came when a friend sent me an article about the first Vietnam casualty from a town in Alabama who was denied a cemetery plot because he was black. Ordinarily that would bring out the dour. However, that evening the news showed black and white families together at a local cemetery honoring veterans who were buried together in Alabama soil at the veteran’s cemetery. I was reminded, we are making progress.
Then I ran across two stories of two happy 90-year-old men. Johnny Gilbert is 92. He has been the long-time announcer for Jeopardy. When Alex Trebek died, he could have just retired, but he chose to remain happy and active. He just signed up for another year as the announcer.
Dick Van Dyke is 95. He was just honored by the Kennedy Center. He is the epitome of happy. I of course was impressed by his accomplishments but, in addition, I was encouraged by the plans he is making to continue to be an active happy person.
Another report caught my eye. For the first time in a long time there were no tornado causalities in May. May is historically the worst month for tornadoes. For someone raised in” tornado alley,” as I was, this is good news.
Then our former junior college won the national championship in football. My universities have rarely known football success.
Then two families from our fellowship group at Illinois State University became grandparents with 24 hours of each other.
I was happy.
However—Then came word that teaching math is white supremacy and racist. Next, a New York psychiatrist reported fantasizing about shooting white people with a spring in her step, and reported how the white mind makes her blood boil. I was also struck by the disparity between how her lecture was not reported in the media and knowing how it would have been exploited if a white psychiatrist had made the statement about minorities.
God save me from being dour.
Refreshment Time— We are going to take our first post-COVID trip during the next two weeks. We are stretching our travel out so we will not have to drive over five hours at a time. We are excited to get away. We will attend another special wedding where I hope to see former students and golfers I have not seen in a long time; some I may never see again because they live across the pond.
We will go on to see friends and family, enjoy laughter and fellowship.
As consequence of our travels, I will not post a blog for the next two weeks, but hope to return refreshed and happy.