Kicked happy, fallen grateful

Some people say that I’m too damn cheerful. They assume I haven’t been knocked around enough in life. Well, I have had many blessings. But if those people only knew the struggles I’ve had:  sharp, excruciating, gnawing, vicious; external, internal; brutally quick and achingly ongoing; lightning strikes and hammer blows, tripping falls face-to-ground. If only they knew the many forms of pain I’ve endured. If only they would realize that most people endure lots of painful struggle in their private lives, even if they never show it.

But I say: Why nurture the negative? With each adversity and graying year comes a brighter, giddier laugh and a more sincere, deeper smile. My heart gets both weaker and stronger with each blow, and every knockout convinces me that I don’t want to spend any more time, not even mere seconds, being miserable or resentful or smeared with the filth of the past.

I wash myself clean each morning and try to brave the new day. I’m not going to let hard times steal my happiness — not while there are still beautiful skies and green trees and good people left in the world. If I were to give away my contentment to hardships — if any of us did — we would be giving away that which remains and makes life worth living. So, I’ll take whatever I can get in lessons and give whatever I can in smiles. And yes, I hug and I love! — these are my comforts amongst the ills of life, not my cheerfulness because I have no ills.

—Terri Guillemets