I was talking to my mother-in-law a few weeks ago, asking how she was doing. She is 85 years old and because of the present corona crisis, she is in isolation in her own apartment, having lost her husband two years ago. She said: “Well, I am doing fine. I have a warm home, there is food in the refrigerator, and my bed is soft.” I have to admit, I was quite amazed by that response. Now, we are in regular contact, so I know pretty much how she is doing, but I felt her answer was on a deeper level.
We talked a bit about her response, and she said that there was not much she could do about the present situation, but it didn’t help to focus on all the negatives. She knows another woman her own age, who doesn’t have children or grandchildren like herself, so she feels privileged having that. Her own father died at the age of 96, and he was not able to get outside of his apartment for the last 6 years of his life, but he was always happy. He had his books, and the world was opened to him through that… and my mother-in-law also found great inspiration reading books in this present crisis.
It made me think how much our own perspective matters in the circumstances, we are in. Many of us are in isolation these days to a lesser or greater extend. However, our thoughts are free, our perspective is free, and we can decide not to have a victim mentality. That is actually one of the worst thing that can happen to us as human beings: If we allow ourselves to see ourselves as victims who can do nothing about our own life, situation or happiness. Also, because this simply is not true. This season should make us reflect over the fact that the most important thing we have here on earth is our relationship with each other.
So, in many ways, happiness comes from within. However, not everyone has the inner strength to lift their own lives by having a positive perspective on life. For various reasons some things come easier to some people than to others: It might be our upbringing, experiences in life that affect us, a more difficult personality etc. Therefore, it is important that we help each other to be positive about life. For some people happiness might come from outside… from you and me. We can be used as vessels to help others develop a positive inner attitude, develop an inner happy life. Sometimes, we hear that we should stay around people that lift us up and make us happy. But we should also think about being around people whom we can lift up and make happy.
And, on top of it all, it is our relationship with God, that really gives us the greatest strength for life. God didn’t just leave us alone on earth to take care of ourselves and go through the crises of life on our own. He really wants to be with us and with His presence give us the real strength that can help us all the way, even to death… and beyond! With the words of David: “ though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).
By Jorn Brauner, National Director elect of Cinnamon Network Denmark
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