We have a life that generally presents us with two options. Distilling the stimulus in life, the many angles of possibility, we inevitably see just two—two viable ones. And in the particular respect of outlook in life, when in trouble, we tend to look up or look down. The human default is to look down. The resilient response of faith is to look up.
Options in life run in their twos,
Despite our search for more of life’s clues,
At the end of the day it’s black or brown,
Do we look up or do we look down?
When life comes down to two options, and we are thankful for the simplicity of only having two options, we still need to make the choice. Sometimes we are so relieved to have all the confusion pared away, we lose sight of the fact we still need to decide. When it comes to looking up or looking down, there is only one sensible choice. But in looking up we must give up on our rights to resentment, frustration, and pride. If we choose the wrong option—to look down in resentment, frustration, and pride—we come to later find we have fainted.
Then it’s a choice in dealing with the twos,
What will we glean from today’s hard news?
By outlook our perspective’s frequently tainted,
Pick the wrong one and there we’ve fainted.
The appreciative life, which is a perspective focused on truth and virtue, may be criticised for being too positive, but it gives the holder a strategic advantage in the capture of joy. The appreciative life, much like its opposite, the critical spirit, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We attract peace and joy, and our relationships go well.
When life’s viewed in ways to appreciate,
When goodness comes through what we mediate,
A self-fulfilling prophecy is directed the right way,
Then it is we enjoy our day.
Life really is a challenge. Between the highs and lows we are called to endure the humdrum life. Especially in boredom, when things are not especially tough, we are given to petty complaint. Still, we need to look up, remembering to praise and thank God. It’s a tragic irony that it’s in the crazy in-between ‘nothing’ moments of life that we often lose our way. It is better to see the temptation for what it is, in this case complaint, and instead climb the wall; be thankful despite the lack of stimulus for joy.
Choice to look down or choice to look up,
It’s not really a choice at all,
For when we refuse now to corrupt,
Then we have the tools to climb life’s wall.
It is easier to look down and get depressed than look up in thankfulness. But only in looking up to the heavens, praising God, do we find the resilient way to overcome life’s struggles.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.