Monday, February 8, 2016

Do good. Make happy.

When my kids were younger, I used to love to read them a certain set of chapter books.  Each book was an adventure through time which was well and good, but every few books completed an entire story arc with a moral or lesson that stuck with you.  I used to read to them while we ate breakfast, and by the time that last book ended, I’d be crying on my bagel and they wouldn’t understand how even as adults we need reminders of the sweet spots of life.
For me, this week has been one of those story arcs.
Book One:  It started off with my usual stress, when I panic that I’ll never get everything done. I let it get to me a bit more than I normally do and I found myself taking it out on other people.  “I’m usually a nice person,” I thought to myself.  “What went wrong?”  I mulled it over and decided I needed a personal mantra, something to say in my head when I started to catch myself in this ugly attitude.  I came up with “Do good.  Make happy.”  If only I could take the choice of my own actions and use them to help make the world a better place and to spread joy, wouldn’t that just be something?
I typed up a little colorful image.  I made it my Facebook cover picture. 
End of book.
Book Two:  My father and I are both strong-willed, stubborn, like-to-win people.  How my mother has survived the two of us for all these years, I’ll never understand, because being an only child, her calmness is certainly outnumbered.  This week we were at it again, arguing over something incredibly insignificant, something he thought was important and I did not.  The words we typed back and forth to each other are not relevant, but I ended my argument with the insertion of my little graphic.  “Do good.  Make happy.”  I was done fighting.  If I ever had a t-shirt printed with my new saying, I couldn’t proudly wear it and argue over coffee companies.  We apologized. 
End of book.
Book Three:  It was quite the roller coaster weekend, with the highs of a great accomplishment coupled with the tragic news of the sudden loss of a community member.  For all of the “make happy” I was trying to do this week, I found myself in shock, trying to sort things out and not knowing how to handle what comes next for all of us whose life she was a part of.  When we lose someone, aside from the sadness comes the lessons we learn.  Whether we learned them from the person or from the process, there’s always something.  This week I was reminded again of just how short and how precious life is, and that we need to “Do good.  Make happy.” as much as we can for as long as we are lucky enough to be given the chance. 

End of book, end of arc, start of tomorrow.

Originally written/published 2/8/15

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