Friday, April 20, 2007

defining moments

I was reading a story this morning about one of the shooting victims at Virginia Tech. His mother was recounting his experience that morning, and as she completed telling his story she remarked that she didn't want this to become the defining moment of his life, that she would rather his life be defined by something positive, a "great celebration of his life."

So I've been thinking about defining moments and turning points. The traumas of my life have not approached the intensity of what took place this week. Even so, they have had their impact, and have shaped, to some extent, who I am, and in some cases changed the trajectory my life has taken. That has not been a bad thing. I also understand what this mother is saying, and I agree with her that a focus on what is good in life, and what can be made good is much preferred to dwelling on the negative. I have seen the damage done to people whose life reference point keeps them in the place of victim. Not only does it inhibit that person's life, but it makes smaller the lives of those around them.

In a book I am reading for a clergy study group, the author refers to what he calls "reverse paranoia," where he does his best "to assume that everyone is part of a plot to enhance my well-being." Why not? And if we each took some portion of responsibility for trying to enhance the well-being of those we encounter in life, what a difference we would make in the world!

I don't know that there is a single defining moment in my life thus far. I like to think that many moments contribute to the person I am now, and that many more will help shape the person I will yet become. I can also choose to be intentional about that definition, by seeing what is good, doing what is better, and believing the best about people as often as possible. That, indeed, is cause for celebration.


Jayne said...

Bravo friend! Indeed, whatever we choose to focus on just grows bigger... so why not focus on the positive aspects to ensure we don't get stuck in the muck forever. Love to you!

Pam in Moncton said...

I always enjoy reading what you write, Anne, as it is often thought-provoking. Wonderful to consider how we may positively affect the people we come across in our day-to-day lives. If we are not always sure what the defining moment(s) of our lives are, at least until much later, maybe we are producing defining moments for others and they might as well be good ones.

Maria said...

You always get me thinking in a most positive way Anne. I like to think that I have no one defining moment either. There are lots of areas I can do better at and one of them is always thinking the best of people. I'm going to focus on that! Thanks.


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