On Getting The Right Attitude...

          No one can make you happy, or unhappy.  You may become that way, but trust me, 95% of the time, you will shape your happiness with your attitude.  And it is only a matter of convenience just how offended you can be about some little injustice.  I mean, if your minister stepped out into traffic and you had to stop, you'd wave and smile.  But if Tommy, the kid from next door ran out into traffic, you could really get to hollaring...

          I was sitting in my church one Sunday, attending a conference-type meeting of several of the local organizations.  Six choirs had gathered from the local area, nice folks too, you know.  In my church there are no paid clergy, and it follows that we have no paid music directors either.

          Now, I have an extensive background in vocal music.  So as I was sitting there, pious in my judgmental way, I was pondering on the old saying "... you get what you pay for...", and I listened quietly as the wailing went on...

          My second son turned to me and brought me back to reality.  "Dad, I love you."

          My bubble burst.  He meant it, as he always did.  But because it was out of context with my surroundings and my selfish thoughts, it really registered.  I was surprised.  I came out of my stupor of thought and looked around at all those I love so much.  My whole family.  Each with a spirit as sweet as my son's, all listening carefully, in the right frame of mind.  All of them doing the stuff I tried to teach them to do, all of them were growing in their own quiet way.  Not me.  I was, as I should have been, ashamed.

          I can get off the track in my own snobby way at times.  I think we all can.  We have to work at developing the right attitude, and sometimes we need reminding.

          My favorite example on this topic of attitude is marriage; specifically, pregnancy.  I never really gave it much thought when I was younger.  My wife and I always wanted more kids.  That requires more pregnancies, more adjustments. 

          I thought it might bother me, but it didn't, the way my sweet wife looked (well... big).  After all, we did this together, and I was pretty happy about it.  But my wonderful wife hated it.  Especially the last few months, when she would waddle around the house and moo at the grass outside, where people might see her.  Other than dealing with her added sensitivity, I sort of poo-pooed it all.  When I wanted to fight, though, I could always ask when she wanted to go graze at the local salad bar...

          Well, after all our children were born, and the Army sent my last orders for Korea, I gathered a box of pictures to take with me.  Hundreds of them, and I bought three picture frames to hang in my room.

          I got there, and put about 9 to 15 photos into each frame, kids, wife and all.  It was a group of pictures which caught the eye of every man who entered my quarters, one man even stopping to cry over some of them.

          After I returned and retired, I determined that these were my finest trophies.  I hung them in our bedroom, where my wife saw them for the first time. 

          She came running up to me one day, having seen them up close for the first time, flabbergasted over them.

          "Did you put those pictures together?"  She knew it.

          "Did you ever count how many of those show me pregnant??" she sputtered.

           I didn't believe her.  So I went back and looked at them carefully.  Sure enough, 3 out of 4 photos of her were with child.  She demanded that I take them down, but I persuaded her that it was unintentional.  I hadn't realized it, I explained, but I had picked only the prettiest pictures by virtue of her special "pregnant glow".

          It was true.  Anyway, she bought the whole line and smiled. 

          I should have let it go, but I just couldn't resist... I mooed softly.  Then she slugged me.

          Attitude.  It takes a little work, but it pays big.