Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Attitude Is Key

So while Jonah has been unemployed, he has been donating his time doing costume design for a small community theatre company.  In doing this, he has been working with a group of people that actually consists of some rather needy, high-maintenance personalities; certainly not everyone is like that, but some are.

There is one woman, in particular, that has really gotten under Jonah's skin, and that is unusual because Jonah typically gets along with most people pretty well.  Jonah describes this woman as "chaos."  She creates drama wherever she goes and is extremely self-centered and negative.  I've only met her twice, and based on my interactions with her, I have to agree with Jonah.

On the flip side, Jonah recently met a young man who works as a stage technician.  Jonah has only just met him, but he touched Jonah's heart profoundly.  The kid is about 22 years old and has been sick most of his life.  He's been in and out of hospitals since he was a toddler, and yet Jonah was struck by his enthusiasm and optimism.  He talked about his interest in costume design, which, of course, is right up Jonah's alley.  Jonah also noticed that the young man wore a pair of damaged glasses because he can't afford to buy a new pair, and it kind of broke Jonah's heart.

A few days ago, the man (we'll call him Zach) was back in the hospital again.  He has a very serious blood infection as well as pneumonia.  We went to visit him yesterday, and Jonah brought him some books on costume design as well as some scripts because the kid loves to read.

I didn't say much while Zach and Jonah talked.  I just quietly listened.

What struck me most about Zach was his attitude.  He had such a sweet spirit (pardon the cliche)and I was particularly impressed by his positive attitude and his enormous gratitude.  The kid had part of his colon removed as a child and has been in and out of the hospital for weeks at a time due to various health problems and yet, is so full of optimism and thankfulness.  And there is such a kindness and sweetness about him.  His biggest worry seems to be that he doesn't know whether he will get out of the hospital in time to help out with the show.

He really moved and inspired me.

I then thought about this other woman at the theater who has so much to be thankful for and has been given these talents and opportunities and yet treats everyone around her like crap and lives in this bubble of drama and pessimism.

And I thought about some of these very self-involved people Jonah works with at the theater and was struck by the fact that both Jonah and I know that the majority of these people would never take any time to visit this young man.

 And I was again reminded that our lives are very much influenced by our attitudes. A person can have all sorts of misfortunes occur in his or her life and be full of optimism and gratitude whereas on the flip side another person can have such great blessings in his or her life, but only demonstrate thanklessness and live in a bubble of negativity and drama. I'm grateful that I was reminded that it isn't our circumstances that cause our happiness or sorrow, but how we face and deal with those circumstances and how we choose to respond to them with our attitudes.

I really believe this is true.  We can't always control what happens to us, but we can control how we choose to react to it.  I think attitude is truly one of the keys to our happiness.  I'm grateful a physically sickly, but emotionally healthy, young man reminded me of that yesterday.


LCannon said...

That's how our brother-in-law is - perhaps too optimistic - is there such a thing? Before he met Kayla he was positive and laughing - and his first wife had such unreal problems and seemed quite depressed (to me) most of the time. And I'm sure they will continue to pay medical bills through the nose until the day they die. But one might never know he even has problems - well, the financial burden, etc. Many don't take him seriously, but if they really knew his background, they'd truly be impressed.

Dean Scott said...

I think you and Johan must be two of the most kind people on earth. If I am ever in the Vegas area or the two of you are ever in NC I'd like to meet for lunch just to say "hi" in person.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Agreed, LCannon.

Dean, I actually think Jonah is a more thoughtful person than I am. I can be a bit selfish. If Jonah didn't urge me to do so, I'm not sure I would always do the kind things we do of my own volition. But who knows? Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit.

It would be great to meet you if we ever have the opportunity to do so.