Staying positive really makes all the difference. And that’s not just some recycled cliche or something. It’s fact. It’s reality. I’ve seen that theory in play and seen how true it really is.

Recently a good friend of mine was robbed. L’s family home was broken into while she and her hubbie were working and their kids were (thankfully) at school. The robbers took their time, took everything they could sell, tossed the house looking for hidden valuables, and then trashed things they didn’t steal. Besides electronics and jewelry they also took some of the kids’ clothing and the keys to one of their cars. They also slashed furniture, scattered food around, and emptied every drawer and shelf in the house. It was a huge loss and a huge violation for my friend and her family. And within a day she told me that something good would come of it. She reminded me that normally, her kids would have met her and her husband at the house for lunch and that day, they’d met at a family member’s home instead. They’d been lucky to not go home. The thieves had also missed a small box of her jewelry, leaving some treasured items safe and untouched on her dresser.

Her ability to look at that nightmare and find the good was (and still is) awe inspiring. I was humbled by her faith and her kindness and her belief that all was going to be alright.

In my own life I try to put that rule into play as much as possible. When I was younger I was terrible at it. When things went wrong I only saw the wrong. I got angry and sad and let the single bad moment taint days or weeks or even years. I held onto that darkness like a security blanket.

In the past 15+ years or so I’ve worked very hard to break that habit. Since finding my little church breaking that habit hasn’t been hard work at all. I still slip from time to time, but I’m able to quickly remind myself that there is always a good moment to balance the bad moments.

The thing that I try to focus this rule on the most is my walk with Rheumatoid Arthritis. For a long time I only saw the things that RA had taken from me. Friends, relationships, jobs, and one of my biggest dreams. It was a dark, yet very true, view of my RA journey. RA has taken so much. And it will take more. That is the nature of the disease.

But it has brought me so much. Through support groups I’ve made life-long friends and gained understanding that I desperately needed. Because of the loss of physical abilities I’ve taken jobs that have put people in my path that have helped me through tough times and helped shape the person I am today. If RA hadn’t taken away my dream to train and compete with horses I wouldn’t have rediscovered my love for writing. I wouldn’t be working on my first novel and finishing my Master’s degree.

RA has been a terrible, painful road. But it has taken me to beautiful places.

Looking back I can see how each loss, each dark day turned my path toward blessings that I’m grateful for every single day.

So staying positive really is key. In fact, it is more than key, it is vital. It is necessary. Because if you don’t stay positive, if you don’t find the good, you miss so much of this beautiful world.

by Joe Futrelle

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