Jerry’s Choice Is it possible to choose joy whatever comes?

For the pessimist, the glass is not just half-empty, it’s chipped and cracked.  The optimist says, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  The pessimist says, “Ya? But it’s also the last day of your life so far.”  

Lately, I find myself drawn to contagiously positive people who have chosen to approach life with gratitude.  Jerry is that kind of guy. Not many restaurant managers have waiters follow them from one franchise to the next, but Jerry does. They love his attitude. When asked how he remains so positive, Jerry replies, “Each morning I wake up and say, ‘Jerry, you have two choices today. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or to learn from it.’

One day Jerry left the back door of his restaurant open. Three thieves walked through the door and held him at gunpoint. While trying to open the safe, his hand slipped.  The robbers panicked. And shot him. After eighteen hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with bullet fragments still in his body. A friend asked how he was doing. Jerry replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins…wanna see my scars?” Jerry told him about the robbery.

“My first thought was, I should have locked the back door! Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered I had two choices; I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared?”

“Sure. But when they wheeled me into emergency their expressions said, ‘He’s a dead man.’A big burly nurse shouted, ‘Are you allergic to anything?  ’I said,‘Yes!’ Bullets!” Over their laughter, I told them, “Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.” And they did.

Like Jerry—I’m allergic to bullets. And like Jerry, I can’t choose when or where they will hit. But I can control my reaction. My response. My attitude.

How about you? Are things coming your way that you wouldn’t choose?

In Matthew 28:20 Jesus promised us,

“I am with you always. Even to the end of the age.”

Step one on the road to laugh again is to hold onto him, then make a conscious decision to choose a grateful heart, to choose joy. With God’s help,  and an attitude adjustment, it can be done.  A positive friend can help to.

Although you may want a pessimist for a friend too.  You see, if you borrow money from a pessimist, they never expect it back.

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