“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
The choice seems obvious: you’ll be much happier in a constant state of wonder than you will be feeding on a steady diet of cynicism. But the decision to view things as beautiful in the face of a world filled with suffering and discord can feel self-indulgent at best, and completely delusional at worst.
But choosing to see everything through a divine lens isn’t just some Pollyanna panacea. It’s a perceptional shift that will change your life, and quite possibly the lives of those around you.
To be honest, this miracle-minded gratitude nut is road-testing this philosophy on a very tough situation right now.
A close family member is mentally ill, drug addicted, homeless, and as of this writing, refusing treatment for what seems like the millionth time. He has physically and verbally abused strangers and loved ones. His own parents have a restraining order against him.
I don’t know if he will ever get well.
And my well-honed Catholic guilt is having a freaking field day with this.
Any attempts to stick with a positive, thankful mindset (You’re healthy. You have writing work to do and money coming in. You have the support of friends and loved ones.) are met with a swift smackdown from my inner opposing counsel:
Go right ahead. Sit there and enjoy your Starbucks while writing on your laptop in your nice, safe home. I’m sure your relative is doing just fine holed up in a drug den or sleeping on a bench somewhere.
I’d love to tell you that I can blithely whisk away those thoughts with the adage: “You can’t save someone who doesn’t want saving.”
But I love this person. And I don’t want to forget about or give up on him.
So, I do the only thing I can think of.
I reach for the miracle, no matter how infinitesimal it may be:
He’s still alive. And every heartbeat is an opportunity to come back around.
That’s all I have right now. But I’ll take it.
And sometimes that’s all it takes to see a miracle come true.
That seems like the most productive and positive attitude you can have. And I firmly believe “delusional” is a word invented for people who might not be able to experience extreme positive states of mind without questioning themselves. Fooling one’s self, though – that’s quite another thing, but it’s a fine line. And BTW, I think you can live in both states at the same time, but the interior design of the more positive state is much more attractive. Good luck.
Howard, as always, I love your take on things! You’re right…people really do have a hard time accepting (and enjoying) extremely positive mindsets without wondering if there’s something wrong with them (been there, done that…a lot). But this situation is definitely challenging me to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel good, even as I am concerned and praying daily for my loved one to heal.