Don’t wait for life to happen

By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist

Life doesn’t happen to some people. Instead some people happen to life. They dare to make life the best it can be. Mediocrity is not in their vocabulary.

I have a dear friend who recently had radical surgery. She was in surgery many hours. When she was at home in recovery, I called one day to check on her.

“I’m getting better every day. Considering what all they did to me, I’m doing really well.”

What a great attitude.

Attitude makes a lot of difference. Being positive enables us to find something good in bad situations. Seeing the bad only compounds the situation, destroying hope and faith.

One of my second-grade students made a low score on a spelling test. On the back of the paper I had the students illustrate the challenge words.

My student did a great job and made a high grade on that. When his mother saw the front of the paper, she had a frown.

“But mother, look on the other side,” he said, looking for the good.

So let’s live life with gusto and excitement. Instead of eating the same old thing for breakfast how about a piece of pizza? It’s good. Or what about turkey and dressing?

Try something different.

I had the conventional wood stained cabinets in my kitchen. One summer I broke out of the mold. I painted my cabinets a gleaming white. Then I painted red tulips, yellow flowers, dark scrolls and tiny green leaves on the doors and drawers.

My husband said, “Well, it’s different.”

I like it so much it’s still there.

After our sons grew up and left home, my husband and I sort of rediscovered each other.

On the spur of the moment, we packed a lunch and drove 75 miles to a lake. We found the most beautiful piece of driftwood. The wood was large, and the sun had bleached it white. My husband worked and worked to get that piece of driftwood in the pickup.

We brought it home and put it in the yard. To me it serves as a reminder that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun.

What is wrong with being aggressive with life? It’s all too short at best. I wonder sometimes, are we living while dying or dying while living?

So I have a house full of junk and maybe I don’t always dust. (I dust after Christmas every year whether it needs it or not.)

After many years of wedded bliss and accumulation, I have a lot to display. I have shelves and shelves of all the memorabilia of love given to me by my students of 31 years.

Maybe at my age I’m supposed to wear my hair in a knot and wear tacky shoes, but I’m not going to. I still like to wear ruffles, heels and costume jewelry. I’m not trying to look young; I’m me. I rejoice in the Lord, and “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

When I’m 90, I will sit on the back row at church, clap my hands and shout, “Preach it, brother!”

People will say, “Leave her alone, she’s just senile,” but the truth of the matter is, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

Call me unconventional, nonconformist, whatever, but this one thing I know: Jesus came to give me life and to give it more abundantly (John 10:10).

Learn something new. Make a new friend. Try a new recipe. Walk to town a different way. Paint tulips on your cabinet doors.

Life is a great adventure. You can make it happen. Go ahead. Try it.