On Cynicism…

It would be easy to be a cynic…

In my mind I have said that a million different times.

It would be easy to latch on to every time a friend breaks a confidence or a paramour breaks my heart.

It would be easy to be angry and resentful for the loss and obstacles in my past.

Those who know my story… the WHOLE story have often said that.  They have voiced amazement at my ability to smile and find the silver lining given where I’ve been.  It would be easy to become a cynic.

And yet.

That’s not the person I want to be.  I don’t want to live in anger.  I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t trust.  I choose every moment of every day to find the good because I still believe that it’s in everyone.  Even those who don’t deserve the effort it takes to find it.  Even those who do not show you the respect that you show them.  Sometimes you have to be the bigger person and take the high road because you are the only one who can.

I don’t want my kids to be that person either and parenting by example seems to rub off the quickest.

I was smack dab in the middle of a melancholy pity party about stupid shit that doesn’t matter when I got the update that I didn’t want.

Someone I’ve known for the last 7 years… who taught me more than he will ever know… is losing a battle he’s been fighting for too long.  I decided that goodbyes are important and he deserves to know that he mattered.

Notifications were made – some deserved phone calls, while with others an email sufficed… tis better to know something is happening rather than to find out after the fact.

I stopped to pick up flowers because that’s what you do.  Daisies.  Something bright and cheery.

As I sat in his room and we held hands, few words were exchanged.

There were tears… because I’m a cryer. And so is he.

There was patience… because that’s always been his way.

There was frustration as he lost his words. I reminded him that it was ok and I understood.

He asked about my family- always more concerned with the lives of others.

I said the words that were most important. “You were and are important.”

Most of all, there was understanding.  Understanding that the things over the last seven years may not have been perfect and that we’ve both done and said things that bring a smidge of regret… but that there was always friendship. Trust.  Compassion.

I caught him on a good day. A lucid day where he knew who I was and was touched that I came.

In the silence I heard the still small voice that reminded me of the person I strive to be… the person I want my boys to see…  the rules I’ve made for myself… the ones I want to live by… even if I’m far from perfect.  I’ve gotten away from these lately.  It’s time to refocus on what’s truly important instead of getting caught up in everything that isn’t.

  • Empathy | Slightly Off KilterBe quick to forgive and slower to judge.
  • Be patient with the chaos in someone else’s life.
  • Tell those that matter how you feel – good or bad but do so from a loving and open heart.
  • Life is short and any amount of time spent hanging on to anger and frustration is a poor way to spend the precious time we are allotted.
  • Show empathy to those whose paths you are fortunate enough to cross… you never know the demons they are fighting.
  • Everyone is fighting demons.
  • Friendship isn’t always easy… True friendship is always worth it.
  • Compassion and understanding will help you to go farther than most of the book learning taught in schools today.
  • Show mercy and grace to those whose actions don’t always deserve it.
  • Appreciate everyone in your life.  Their time, talent and treasure is valuable and they choose to share it with you.
  • Showing concern for another person is never a waste of time… even if they don’t act in the way you expect.
  • Smile at everyone.  You never know who needs it.
  • Don’t preach… Practice humanity every moment of every day.
  • Trust freely so that you are not holding anyone responsible for the mistake of another.
  • Forgiveness, mercy, grace,  empathy and compassion for another doesn’t automatically give them a free pass to be in your life.  You must also show empathy and compassion to yourself.

It would be easy to become a cynic.

But it wouldn’t make me happier.  I choose to be happy.



  1. So glad you had this opportunity. It’s always best to take them and make the most of them.

    • Mostly I figure why wait… tell ALL the people they are important… you know… like you. YOU are important to me 🙂

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