My grandfather was a big fan of a television show called Hee Haw. You’ve probably seen it too. If so, you probably recall the words, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.” I thought about that song today when someone was complaining to me about his persistent bad luck.
Remember the Peanuts character, Charlie Brown? He had a black cloud that followed him around. Have you ever known people that if you look closely you can almost see a similar dark cloud hovering over their heads? Very often these are folks who believe they are victims of bad luck.
Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum. Folks who you’d swear probably smile in their sleep. When they enter a room it’s like opening a window to fresh air and sunshine.
Do these folks consider themselves lucky? Maybe, but I think most of them would tell you that they make a conscious effort to be happy. Bad things happen to them too, but instead of focusing on the black cloud, they do their best to remember that the sun is still shining even when it’s temporarily blocked from view.
One of my favorite lessons on attitude is by Charles Swindoll and it says in part, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, gift, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
To that I say, “Amen,” Charles. A big fat “Amen!”