Friday, September 30, 2011

Looking for The Good Life - Making Some Choices

Friend Tom Rink posted a couple of intriguing quotes today.

In Hodgepodge of Advice? Tom provides us with some phraseology that connects with something I've been thinking about for a few days now.

First, Tom quotes an unknown author:

"Live life and take chances.
Believe that everything happens for a reason and don't regret.
Love to the fullest and you will find true happiness in life.
Realize that things go wrong and people change, but things do go on.
Sometimes things weren't meant to be.
What is supposed to happen will work its way out."

Then there's a quote from Marilyn Monroe:

"I believe everything happens for a reason,
people change so that you can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they are right,
you believe lies so that eventually you learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together!"

Tom's quotes seem to fit with one I came across the other day. I appreciate both (although I do veer a little away from Marilyn's suggestion that we learn to "trust no one but yourself" - sorry, Marilyn. Trust is all, and when we stop trusting we become - in my opinion - somewhat less - for lack of a better word - than we can be).

Despite my digression, I appreciate - as I say - both of the quotes Tom's shares with us, and taken with the quote I found, there's a useful message for us.

In New York, one of our prominent citizens, Frank Forrester Church IV, died a couple of years ago. I knew him slightly, and always felt very privileged when we shared a brief conversation or two. When Forrester died, he had been for a number of years Senior Minister at All Souls Unitarian Church on the Upped East Side of Manhattan. While I wasn't a worshiper at his church or even much of a believer, I was always impressed with the man's kindness and with his ability to listen. These splendid attributes came through clearly in any conversation.

Recently I ran across a memorial essay about Forrester, in a publication of an organization we both belonged to, and I was reminded of one of the most fascinating things he said. The essay's author referred to the statement as Forrester's "mantra," and perhaps it was (not being part of his regular community, I had not heard him say it but once, perhaps twice).

But he did share it with me, in one of our conversations when we were speaking together on some subject about how people move forward with their lives. We were talking about how people feel better about themselves if they can find time to care a little about others and, if they can, move a little away from being as self centered as many of us tend to be.

In our conversation, Church said something about a phrase he tried to live by (that "mantra" the memorial essayist was referring to):

"Want what you have, do what you can, be who you are." 

It seems to sum up everything that unknown author of Tom's and Marilyn Monroe were saying, doesn't it?

If we accept who we are, if we don't allow negative experiences to turn into set-backs, if we have the confidence just to keep looking to the future and stop focusing on things that are not really important to our own definition of the "good life," it's not that hard to be comfortable with what life throws our way.

1 comment:

Tom R. said...

Guy, this is an excellent quotation! And it ties in nicely with the ones that I had found. Thanks for sharing. (I too had a bit of difficulty with Marilyn's not trusting anyone but yourself, but alas, it was a quotation).