No pity parties allowed here

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 15, 2002

Are you having a "why me" kind of day today? We all have them, or more precisely, we allow them. We are, after all, the ones who choose to see our glasses as half-empty rather than half-full.

I am living again on the street where I grew up and am amidst many people I've known since my childhood. Apparently, that fact is perceived to give my neighbors the right to be candid, frank and yes, a little nosey.

Last week one of the more outspoken of the women was asking me about my medical demons that are rearing their cardiac heads again and about my "in absentia" husband. Knowing that she is a caring woman who is genuinely concerned, I felt free to answer her questions. "Yes. My heart ain't right on both counts." She then asked me if I didn't feel like a most unlucky person. My immediate response was a resounding, "Not at all!" In no way do I harbor such feelings

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I wake up alive each morning with a plethora of possibilities unfolding before me, so how am I unlucky?

I thought about that conversation later when I was reading an article about the prophet Jeremiah from the Bible. In his despair over the destruction of Jerusalem, he wrote the Old Testament book of Lamentations. It took him two-thirds of the book before he moved past his grief and laments to regain some sense of acceptance and hope.

As is occasionally the case with us all, Jeremiah's emotions overpowered his faith and hope for the future. It happens. We fall prey to situations that sap our strength and imaginations. We are left feeling bereft, forlorn and fearful. But if we recognize the theft of our positive attitudes, we can circumvent the resulting gloom and regain balance.

To do this, we first must recognize the process that is in play. We must see that our spirits are being diminished. Then we must realize that we are dealing in only emotional reactions when we need to be using logic as well. If we remain tied into emotions without logic, we tend to isolate ourselves from others, thus denying ourselves the energy created by social interaction.

We all know that a "pity party" does not have many attendees. Oddly enough, the world can't seem to find time to wallow with us in our own personal quagmires of woe. That's a very wordy way to say that we need to tell moodiness and self-pity to take a hike. We must train ourselves in the habit and discipline of hope and faith in the future.

I read an anonymous quote that said, "Mastering our emotions does not mean to deny them but to make them teachable and trainable." So it's O. K. to feel every emotion. If we don't feel despair, it's hard to recognize elation. Without sorrow, it is difficult to define joy. But we must remain in control of how big a part emotion plays in our life. It tends to overwhelm if allowed. Conversely, life without emotion is stiff, dull and probably, very lonely. Therefore, I believe we should feel our feelings, love our lives, and keep our heads and hearts highbut clear.

So have a great week. And when you say "Why me?" I hope it is because you recognize that a piece of phenomenally good life has come your way.