For two years, before becoming pastor at Albion Evangelical Free Church, I served as chaplain at care centers in Buffalo. I met many kinds of people there, and I observed a vast difference between residents.
Some had a very positive attitude and seemed to live above their circumstances, while others did not. Truly, I could see that one’s attitude toward life definitely determines one’s altitude in living.
It was with keen interest, then, that I came across this inspiring true story, which I share with you.
The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock. Her hair is fashionably coifed and her makeup is perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind.
Today, she moved to a care center. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of thenursing home, she smiles sweetly when told her room is ready. As she maneuvers her walker to the elevator, I provide a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that have been hung on her window.
“I love it,” she states with the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room . . . just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replies. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged it’s how I arrange my mind. I’ve already decided to love it.
“It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice: I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.
“Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account you withdraw from what you’ve put in.
“So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my Memory Bank. I am still depositing.
“Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.”
May God grant us the grace to follow the positive example of this dear lady as we launch into a new year and decade.
Attitude does, indeed, determine altitude!