Choose love and joy over hate

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happy lady

“To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.”

— Hermann Hesse

As we walk through our days — some so challenging and difficult it feels as though joy has disappeared into the mist of long ago dreams — there is a quote that I keep repeating: “Life is unfolding as it should.”

It is a line from the writing Desiderata, which walked a whole lot of us through formative years that often felt like an uphill climb so much of the time.

I had an artistic friend who scripted this on to a poster board for me, and it hung by my bed throughout my high school years.

No matter who is blustering, no matter what the heart feels in the moment, no matter the inexplicable hate marching in our country, we are so small and control so very little.

It is laughable, if one really thinks on it, that we agonize and lose sleep over so many things in which our opinion matters so little.

Words can be manipulated by any number of people to convey just exactly what a particular individual wants to throw out into the world.

Truth is going to stand on its own, regardless of what our singular yearning wants, no matter the great words chosen in hopes of changing one mind, and no matter how much worry is spent studying it.

It would be a bit like the cattle fretting for a good hay crop, or sheep concerned about the price of wool.

If we can think of our worries in this way, maybe we can shrug off much that weighs us down.

Some wise old soul once said that both love and happiness, as well as hatefulness with its worries and woes, are endless. We need to decide each morning when we get out of bed which one we would like to celebrate.

Which end of the spectrum do we want to allow to define our day, our week, our life, and the person that others see us to be. Which will temper us, bend or break us?

Nothing lasts forever, though there are things that feel as though they surely will. We each need to find a way, in our corner of the world, to choose exactly what we wish to cultivate, no matter what tomorrow might bring.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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