Color Me Hopeful

I am a firm believer that my attitude is the crayon that colors the blank white paper of my life.  It’s no coincidence that on my cranky days, I see “idiot” drivers, rude people and inconsiderate actions everywhere I look.  On these days, my life is three shades of gray, accented by swirls of darkness and anger.

I seriously doubt that the world saves their worst behavior for my cranky days.  It would be egocentric of me to assume the world cares enough about what I think to go to such trouble.  No, I think less-than-flattering human behavior is always there and the severity doesn’t vary greatly from day to day.  The difference is me.  When I have my “Mauvelous” crayon in hand, I also see “Carnation Pink,” Cornflower,” “Mango Tango,” and “Vivid Violet.”  Gray still exists but is not focus of my attention.

Attitude can be a struggle for me.  Sometimes being positive isn’t as easy as plucking a brightly colored waxy stick from a cardboard box.  Seeing the good in a world full of evil, or hope in a time of desperation takes conscious effort.  Sometimes things happen that sour my attitude and force my life into gray dullness.  Those things make me doubt the presence of goodness in man and drain hope from my heart.  Luckily when I’m at these low points, I often see something that will allow hope back into my heart.

Let me explain.

Last week, I wrote about my heartache about the famine in Africa.  My sadness turned to disgust this week after I read another news story about famine aid being stolen and sold on the black market.  Children (and adults) are suffering on a long, miserable road of sickness, weakness, and finally death and these “businessmen” are out to turn a tidy profit for themselves.  Have they not seen pictures of the emaciated children?  Are their bodies devoid of souls?

My belief in human decency and hope in humanity were on empty when I read another article, which restored some hope.  A man in Albuquerque, NM witnessed a kidnapping and followed the van in his own vehicle.  Eventually, the van crashed and the driver ran away, but the child was safe.

Did the man who followed the van save the child?  Probably.  His presence may have rattled the driver enough that he crashed.  I don’t know what the kidnapper planned to do with the child, but I’m fairly certain he didn’t intend to take her out for ice cream and bring her back home unharmed.

The man who followed the kidnapper restored some of my faith in humanity.  Despite the danger of tailing the kidnapper, he did it anyway.  In this one act, he proved that selflessness and caring may be on the endangered list, but there is still hope for survival.  His actions cut through the bleakness of a selfish world, stirring in me a deeper appreciation for goodness.

I see that gray has a place and a purpose in my life.  If nothing else, it makes me celebrate the vibrancy of the other colors even more.  If the world didn’t have evil, I would take the good for granted and not give it the thankfulness it deserves.  Yes, there is beauty in the gray, because if I look close enough, I see hope shining through.

Did anything disappoint you this week?  What made you appreciate the glimpses of goodness in the world?  Your thoughts/comments are always welcome!

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28 thoughts on “Color Me Hopeful

  1. suzicate August 21, 2011 / 5:50 AM

    There’s much in this world these days that’s disappointing, and it’s difficult not to let it get you down. I try to focus on what I am able to do to make a positive difference and to be thankful for my blessings…I know you do this as well. It’s perfectly normal for us to be down about things at times, after all we are human.

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 7:54 PM

      You’re right, SuziCate. I just don’t like being down at all because it seems to start a negative spiral and I am afraid I will become one of those crabby people who others avoid. As I wrote this out, I realized that the downs help me appreciate the ups, so it’s a necessary experience.

      Thanks for stopping by today!

  2. Carl D'Agostino August 21, 2011 / 6:44 AM

    re the crayons: I have used the term “an explosion of crayons” to describe a blooming garden and sunsets.

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 7:56 PM

      I like that term, Carl. I may have to borrow it!

      I just love colors in nature. One of these years, I’d love to go somewhere (like Vermont) in the fall to see leaves turn red/orange. I’ve heard it’s gorgeous.

  3. crumbl August 21, 2011 / 7:14 AM

    The sky turns grey, the rain pours down … finally, the clouds break, the sun peeks through, and a rainbow appears … I’ve actually seen double rainbows twice and wasn’t that a treat.

    Grey may be disheartening, but it can lead to majestic moments.

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 7:57 PM

      Beautifully stated, Crumbl. The majestic moments are even more brilliant against the backdrop of gloom 🙂

  4. Richard W Scott August 21, 2011 / 9:00 AM

    Excellent post. I am especially impressed by your take on “fate” in the first part. I believe your statement is entirely correct, but so few of us see that. It rains, and we complain, “why does this happen to me?” It is so easy for us to blame something, anything, for what happens, rather than to learn to “roll with the blow”, or to make the best of it.

    I look at it like this; A person who says, “things always work out for the best is a victim”.
    A person who says, “I always make the best of what happens,” is at cause in his or her life, not like being at the effect of it, like the first person.

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:03 PM

      I’m glad you liked the post, Richard. I like your explanation of the victim vs. the person who is active in their life. Nice 🙂

      Whenever something ‘bad’ happens, I tend to look at the “it could be worse” scenario, so I don’t dwell on it. I have found myself doing the same thing when others share their troubles, but try to supress it when I sense the other person wants to bathe in misery before toweling off and moving on.

  5. Debbie August 21, 2011 / 12:34 PM

    Isn’t it odd that Lincoln back in the day said as much — People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. And isn’t it odd that life tends to throw right back at us the stuff we toss out to others? I’ve noticed that, if someone cuts me off in traffic, for instance, it won’t be long before someone cuts them off. Paybacks, I guess! Now get out that sunny yellow crayon and color your world!

    • pattyabr August 21, 2011 / 2:10 PM

      I like your post/reply Debbie and agree. There were people who professed to be my friends, yet the more time I spent with them I saw that they were my friend for their own benefit, it was not a mutual friendship. I have let them go as friends and have noticed that people they have been cruel to are now putting in formal complaints toward them and they are being held accountable for their actions. Watching from afar has been interesting.

      And you mention Abraham Lincoln, who suffered incredible losses during his lifetime including his own life. HIs poor wife suffered the rest of her life from the losses.

      Any time I have experienced my own personal suffering, I coped by looking forward and being hopeful. When one cannot find hope to move on and look toward tomorrow then the suffering is great.

      • Debbie August 21, 2011 / 2:45 PM

        Exactly! I avoid toxic people whenever I can — I’ve heard water seeks its own level, and “downers” bring me down too much with them. Life is much rosier when we have hope and faith. I’d rather see a glass half-full than half-empty!

        • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:23 PM

          I like the way you think, Debbie 🙂

      • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:23 PM

        Hope is a powerful thing, Patty. It can mean the difference between drowning in our suffering or finding a way to pull ourselves out of it.

        I’m sorry you had faux friends, but I’m glad you discovered who they really were and rid yourself of them. I imagine you must feel many emotions as you watch karma in action.

        Thanks for stopping by today!

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:07 PM

      The traffic example made me laugh because I’ve actually derived pleasure when a reckless driver is on the receiving end. I know I shouldn’t be that way.

      I’ve got my yellow in hand – it’s such a happy color. (In fact, the walls in my office are a smiling yellow color called ‘Belgian Waffle.’ Love it :))

      Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Debbie.

  6. cuhome August 21, 2011 / 12:54 PM

    Wonderful, thought-provoking piece you wrote. The older I get, the more I realize, things are not so much good or evil, black or white, as they are grey. And that puts the burden of thinking things through on us, puts the responsibility of which lens we will choose to look at life through, on us.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:14 PM

      You’re right, Cuhome. I’m glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts 🙂

      Your comment made me think of characters in novels. I have read novels where the “evil” character is bad, but has some redeeming qualities. I have actually found myself not only feeling sorry for the bad guy, but almost rooting for him. Talk about a confusing mess of emotions!

  7. Judith August 21, 2011 / 1:50 PM

    Good post. I always laugh at the look on a salesperson’s face (or in fact anybody’s) when I respond to the question ‘What kind of day are you having” or any of it’s variations with “I’m having a good one. I only allow good days”. So am I a Pollyanna as my children claim?

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:16 PM

      I like than answer, Judith! When I waitressed years ago, I asked this one woman how she was doing and she went into a two minute long explanation of all of her ailments. Yikes.

      Your answer is much better 🙂

  8. dorcas August 21, 2011 / 3:19 PM

    I read that article and it is so sad that people can be so insensitive to other’s needs. Heart Breaking.!!!

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:26 PM

      Dorcas – there are a lot of despicable people in the world, but the ones in that story were particularly offensive to me. People are dying because of their greed. So wrong!

  9. nrhatch August 21, 2011 / 3:56 PM

    Beautiful post, Janna!

    I experience the same disheartening lack of hope reading stories about child abuse, animal abuse, factory farms, environmental destruction, loss of habitat for species on the verge of extinction, etc.

    I cringe as I consider man’s inhumanity to man, animals, and earth. When it gets bad enough, it makes me NOT want to be here at all.

    And then my mood shifts from “running on empty” to “half empty” to “half full” to . . .

    I stop honing in on all the greedy bastards screwing up the world. I take a break from hopelessness and despair and find SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT. 😀

    Aah . . . that’s better.

    After all, despair is hidden arrogance . . . I have seen the future and it doesn’t work.

    • jannatwrites August 21, 2011 / 8:34 PM

      Thank you, Nancy. I’m glad you liked it!

      There is so much in this world that will drain us of hope and swallow us whole – if we let it. There are times when I go into “no news mode” (I don’t listen to, or read news for a day or two) so I can find hope again. You seem to have a positive outlook on life, so it is comforting to know that you have similar struggles.

      P.S. – I laughed at “I have seen the future and it doesn’t work.” I haven’t seen it, but it probably won’t 😉
      (only kidding, of course….)

  10. Widdershins August 21, 2011 / 11:29 PM

    Sometimes just a bit hope will suffice.

    • jannatwrites August 22, 2011 / 7:42 PM

      I agree, Widdershins. Hope is a good, no great, thing!

  11. pattisj August 22, 2011 / 2:25 PM

    Your post put a new twist on the saying, ” Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.”

    • jannatwrites August 22, 2011 / 7:44 PM

      I hadn’t thought about that, but it is kind of the same thing, Patty. I love bright colors and silver linings 🙂

  12. cuhome August 22, 2011 / 4:48 PM

    With a particularly rude and aggressive driver, I find myself thinking, “Boy, I’m glad I don’t work with him or, god forbid, I’m really glad I’m not married to him! If he’s this way in public, well (fill in the blank)____________________.” Because, you know, this is probably his really “good” behavior!!
    Scary!!

    Seriously, though, I like to let the person in. That gives me control, takes away the feeling that “my space” is being encroached upon. Anger? Poof!! Frustration? Poof! (It really isn’t “my space” to start with, I know.)

    I also find myself thinking, sometimes quite outloud, “If you insist on having an accident, take it somewhere else, like, where I’m not, nor is anyone else!” Makes a world of difference in how I feel about it. Try it, if you haven’t yet! It’s greeeaaaaaatttttt !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    cuhome

    • jannatwrites August 22, 2011 / 7:49 PM

      I do leave plenty of room in front of me when I drive. Some people feel the need to make a statement by cutting it close, but I get to laugh when we all have to brake anyway 🙂 I hadn’t thought about it, but you are right, Cuhome – allowing someone the space does give more control over the circumstance. Good thought!

      On my good days, I shrug off annoyances, but on my bad days…watch out 😉

      Today was a good day, by the way.

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