Yes, I admit it. While I was on vacation I didn’t listen to or watch any news on TV. And it felt good. I was far more concerned with the joy of being with my son and his wife and wondering what my next surprise of the day would be.
Well, when I got home, I found a DVD that my son had slipped into my suitcase. It was all about the original North Pole in upstate New York, in the Adirondack Mountains. Since part of my vacation included going to their local North Pole, right outside of Colorado Springs, my son felt I’d enjoy seeing that video of the original North Pole that inspired all the other North Poles that might have cropped up hither and yon, especially the one I had just visited in Canon City, Colorado.
While it was created to bring joy to children, it certainly can and does bring joy to any grownup who visits the little village with the right kind of attitude.
But as much as I enjoyed watching that video of a place to which we took our little kiddies when they were all at an age of wonder, surprise, and belief, this column is not really about the North Pole — the one I visited in Colorado, the original one in the Adirondaks, or the real one, the actual North Pole. It’s about things that make us feel good in spite of what’s going on in the world around us.
Even without considering the many things that could bring us down — corruption on so many levels, political lies, talk of impeachment, fake news, troops not coming home, etc., etc. — we still need things that will bring us up; and not just “things.” We need the kind of experiences that put a song in our hearts, a gleam in our eyes and lift our spirits to the sky. Experiences like driving along the artistically-designed man-made, long, winding roads in and out of the majestic mountains that only God could make, set off by the deep emerald green of the pines and the other trees, soaking up the sunshine of the day or the moonlight and stars by night. Or experiences like seeing smiles everywhere you go and leaving your own with every person you meet while discovering friends in every shop and at every stop along the road, maybe on the way to Santa’s workshop at the local North Pole.
Yes, I may well be getting my Christmas spirit on extra early this year — but then, I generally walk around with it all year long because I prefer to feel good to feeling stressed-out or miserable, or even just apathetic like so many who have been indulging in a steady diet of doom and gloom and have gotten to that place where nothing matters anymore. And as many of you may have already discovered, feeling happy and smiling wherever you go is contagious and the world needs more of
The truth of life is that it is a giant mixture of everything: problems, disappointments, lies, fake news, real news that can sometimes be worse than fake news, sorrow, tragedy, injustice and everything that contributes to apathy — but it is also a mixture of a thousand little successes, the honesty in a lover’s eyes, good news, happiness, surprises that make you smile, good deeds, getting what you deserve, and a whole bunch of things that get you excited and give you the energy of a child. Life, in other words, is what comes your way and what you make of it.
As we start collecting more and more birthdays with larger numbers in them, we need to daily pause and remember that we cannot go back to our yesterdays to say what we didn’t say and do what we didn’t do to add joy to our lives and to the lives of others. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but to me, life is really about what we do for
others, whether it’s bringing joy into their lives, lending a helping hand, or just doing what we do that in some way enhances the lives of others. We cannot all physically help others, and often we don’t even find ourselves in that position. We cannot all help others financially, especially when we might have all we can do to help ourselves, but we can make others smile or laugh to help their burdens feel a little lighter. We can listen to what they have to say instead of going the other way when we see them coming. It doesn’t take much to bring a little cheer into the lives of others and make ourselves
feel good in the bargain.
There’s always enough to bring us down, whether we look for it or not, but with a little effort and maybe a different viewpoint of life, we can likely all find ways to feel good in spite of it all—and spread it around to others.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.