Friday, April 23, 2010

It's All About Attitude

I've decided attitude is everything. I've come to believe that if we have a good one, life will be good no matter what happens to us. If we have a bad one, life will always be filled with disappointments and probably a lot of heartache and headache.

I loved Elder Neal A. Maxwell and his incredible use of the English language. He said things so beautifully - and profound. This was his take on attitude:

"At the center of our agency is our freedom to form a healthy attitude toward whatever circumstances we are placed in! Those, for instance, who stretch themselves in service - though laced with limiting disease - are often the healthiest among us. The Spirit can drive the flesh beyond where the body first agrees to go!" (Deposition pp 30-31)

Isn't that great! And he uses dashes and exclamation points and italics to make his points. I loved that man!

I'm thinking along these lines because yesterday I took a sister to the temple - the nearly blind Hawaiian friend I've been helping care for the last several years. I take care of her medical problems and another friend takes care of her finances. (We finally convinced her that she couldn't live alone anymore when she fell and broke her ankle.) She has to have a walker to get around and we reserve a wheelchair when we go to the temple as she can't walk through a whole session. (In the huge LA temple, we progress from room to room.)

But nothing deters this sister when she wants to do something. Her attitude of "I want to do this and serve the Lord" enables her to graciously accept help at every turn. She gives ample opportunity to others for blessings by way of serving her and never apologizes, but gives profuse thanks for the assistance. She needs help dressing, and before, during and after, then we carry her meal tray for lunch. I have to position everything in front of her and show her where it is, and make sure her plate or bowl is close enough so she doesn't dribble in her lap.

A lesser soul would decide it was much easier just to stay home and watch TV, but not Margaret. She listens to her scriptures and conference on CD or the MP3 player the bishop and his wife gave her for Christmas. Since she can't read, we print things for her in great black bold print so she can study. She is now memorizing the Articles of Faith, The books of the Old and New Testaments in order, and some hymns. She is filling her time and her mind with good things. She has a great attitude - and NO family support. In fact, - well, that is another very sad story.

As Elder Maxwell said, "The Spirit can drive the flesh beyond where the body first agrees to go!"

I believe attitude is a deciding factor in people being able to do things well beyond their capacity, whether it be strength, age, or means. If we have a good attitude, we'll find a way to do whatever needs to be done. We have a retirement center in our ward and several of our sisters are years younger than I am, but about age 60 they decided they were old and so they are. Whether it seemed a good idea at the time to just quit trying, or whatever their reason, they became old. It was a matter of attitude.

I have a granddaughter who accompanies many musicians for musical contests in high school, (and competes herself in many) and was just called to be the choir accompanist. Some of the pieces are incredibly difficult - never in a million years of practicing could I master them - but she has the attitude: If it was written, I will play it. And she does.

When my daughter (her mother) was in high school, the band director would send her home each summer with a couple of new musical instruments for her to learn because he didn't have anyone to play them. She spent the summer mastering those instruments because she had the attitude that the Lord had given her musical talent and intended for her to use it. She passed that on to her children who all play instruments.

Helen Keller's "I will do this" attitude and insatiable thirst to know everything despite her blindness brought her incredible results and great fame. Winston Churchill's "Never give up!" attitude won the war for England and helped bring the free world into the conflict to win the war for everyone.

In today's politics, we can't just shrug our shoulders and say, "I'm just one. I can't change the corruption in the government." We must have a positive attitude and go forth and do whatever we can, small though it may be. It will make a difference in the long run - and attitude is the difference.

In today's wicked world, it would be nice to move to an isolated mountain top and not have to put up with the filth and depravity that is seeping into music, TV, literature, entertainment and advertising of every kind. We can hardly avoid it. But we are told to let our light shine. Someone needs that little spark, that example of attitude that says, "I can make a difference, if only to my own family and circle of friends. I can make a difference because the Lord promised that I could."

So today, no matter what goes wrong, we need to say: "I can handle this. The Lord is on my side. Together we can do this." With that attitude, we truly can do ALL things!


Jennie said...

What a beautiful post. I truly believe that attitude is more than 50% of the battle.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Wonderful post, Lynn. I agree 100%.