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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Finding Joy in the U.S.

Have you noticed an increase in the number of people spouting off predictions about our country's bleak future, their faces plastered with malicious smiles of satisfaction at the gloomy world awaiting us? You might even be beginning to agree with these pessimists, especially as we all witness the frightful increases of school shootings and road rage and at what appears to be a growing collective anger. You might, at this very moment, be on the verge of accepting that our country, and perhaps our world, has completely lost its moral compass and is heading towards annihilation.

What I don't understand is how this kind of pessimism is even possible.  How can any of us fortunate enough to live in a First World country (for those unfamiliar with the term think opposite of Third World countries where people are starving and homeless) with our full bellies and comfortable beds, choose to wallow in the negative instead of finding joy and giving thanks for all of our blessings? Why are there people so filled with misery,  they seem to revel in imagining a world without hope.
That is a place I refuse to live or even visit. Instead I choose to live in a wondrous world filled with endless promise. A world where everything and anything is possible. Why do I choose to live in a place that some might view as nothing more than idealistic nonsense? Simple, I look for joy in everything.

Now at this point you might growl (because I visualize pessimists as growlers not gentle talkers) "That's because your life has been smooth and easy, with no strife anywhere."

"In your dreams,"I would say after laughing hysterically at your ridiculousness because my life is like yours: rocky and difficult. I've struggled against all types of adversity, as you have, including more rejection emails than you can imagine. The difference is all in the attitude. What sets joyous people apart is our ability to find goodness in all things. And that means all things, not just the good stuff.

If you look, you can find joy around you. It's not hard to find. It's not hidden. It's everywhere. Seek out joy and you will discover it. And when you choose joy over anger, negativity, and violence, your journey will be a wondrous adventure instead of a tiresome chore.

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