Can you say these six statements?

“Generally speaking, I am an optimist.”

When I was President of Borgia there was a running joke

amongst my staff. They would be in a tizzy about something or other, making it sound like the world was ending. And I would always reply: It will be OK. They would reply: You

always say that! But you know what, it was always OK.

There are some people who refuse to be positive about

anything. I do not know how they make it through life. I am not suggesting that we all get fitted for rose-colored glasses or that we live in a world of make believe, but it has been my experience that optimism is a much better way to approach life. Optimists tend to be healthier, happier and are more fun to be around. Several years ago, Saturday Night Live had a character named Debbie Downer. Every time someone

would mention something good or positive, there was Debbie pointing out the flaws, the shadows and even the tragic possibilities. It was hilarious because I’ve known many

Debbie Downers in my life, and they do bring us down. I’m not suggesting that we not deal with our issues and problems, but I always remember my favorite words of wisdom: Many things in life are important, very few are serious. It will be OK…

“I have something to offer to other people.”

It doesn’t happen all the time, and if I am completely honest, it doesn’t even happen most of the time. But there have been moments when I have said or done something that has helped others, something that they appreciated down the line. Those things keep me going, keep my hope alive, keep me doing what I am doing. I would hate to live a life where I thought I had nothing to offer to others. How sad and pathetic! Most people feel that they have something, however slight, to give to their fellow humans, something to contribute to the good of the cause. Reflect on your gifts and abilities and share those freely.

“I have someone I can count on.”

Whenever someone comes to me for counseling or advice, I usually end up asking them what I consider the most important question I could ask: Who is your best friend? If someone has a hard time answering that question, I know there is trouble. I bounce things off others all the time. It is

refreshing to hear either that I am spot on and correct OR that I need to think something through a bit more. My friends are not “YES” friends. They tell me the truth, sometimes the hard, painful variety. My life is so much richer because of that however. I can count on them to tell me the truth.

“When I need answers, I usually find them.”

Over the past ten years when I have been in charge of big places, I have been confronted with some strange problems: plumbing, roofs leaking, HVAC systems on the fritz and, my

favorite, Channel 5 News calling. Let’s not even discuss a global pandemic.

Luckily for me solutions (or at least temporary fixes) are only a phone call away.

This gives me the courage to handle any or all situations.  One of the things that exhausts and frustrates most people is when they are blindsided by a problem they either didn’t know they had or don’t

have the wherewithal to deal with. When you know that there is somewhere or someone who can deal with the issue, it removes a great deal of stress.

“When I think about what I have, I believe I’m more fortunate than many.”

The downside of living in America is that you are often

confronted with skewed vision of life. We live in a culture where one of the TV shows we used to watch was Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. You then begin to see everything that you are missing. A better approach to life is to realize how blessed you indeed are. Whenever I feel an ache

somewhere, I immediately recognize that even though I have pains, for the most part I am fairly healthy, I am fed, I have a warm place to sleep. A good majority of the world cannot say that. Focusing on the gifts we have instead of the things we don’t is a recipe for happiness and contentment.

“Relying on something larger than myself is reassuring.” The article from which I stole these statements suggests that this concept need not necessarily incorporate organized

religion. Right. Good luck with that. I am not saying that spirituality minus religion is impossible. Not at all. But what I am saying is that there is a great danger (it can happen in organized religion too) of creating God in our own image and likeness, instead of the other way around. At least with

organized religion, there is 2000 plus years of tradition, discipline and lived experience to fall back on, instead of just…whatever. That being said, it is vital to believe in something bigger than yourself. It keeps you honest. It makes you humble. And best of all, it gives you hope.

So, how did you do? How many of these statements can you honestly utter?

Father Kevin

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