Choir Notes

The Power of Positive Living
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell

“If you were arrested for kindness, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” commentator Michael Josephson once asked. He then noted something we have all experienced: “Some people cheer up a room by entering it, others by leaving it. What do you bring to your interactions with workmates, friends, and family? Is it encouragement, optimism, or kind words? Or is it pessimism, criticism, or cynicism?"1

As beautiful and abundant as this world is, there often seems to be a shortage of kindness and optimism. Many of us are doing our best to stay positive and look for the good, but sometimes we may feel weighed down by the gloominess and rudeness around us. Indeed, it can be difficult to be kindhearted in what seems to be, at times, a cold-hearted world.

We need hope and strength, two of the great fundamental virtues that can shape our nature and our world. Even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary, we can choose to believe that things will work out and that people, in their hearts, respond best to kindness. These are decisions of hope and strength; they are the power of positive living.It can be done; in fact, it can become a way of life.

That’s what has happened with an 84-year-old woman who lives in an assisted living center. It would be easy for her to complain about being left alone after the passing of her dear husband; it would be easy to grumble about her inability to walk and her lack of freedom; it would be easy to gripe about the food, the weather, her health, and her situation. But she has made a decision to be positive and to be kind. She has become the person who cheers up a room by entering it. As a result, people are drawn to her. They call and visit her for no reason at all. They just like being around her.

That’s the power of positive living: the more you look for all that is good and hopeful, the more you find yourself surrounded by it.

1 “If You Were Arrested for Kindness,” What Will Matter, Aug. 16, 2013, http://whatwillmatter.com/2013/08/commentary-803-5-if-you-were-arrested-for-kindness.

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