“It’s The ‘Interpretation’ Of Our Lives That Matters!”


My wife had an interesting conversation with a resident at an assisted living facility the other day. One of the residents she visits in her rounds as a home health care nurse is 94 years old. Her husband has died, her health is on the wane, and her body has long lost the ability to do the things she so loved. In her younger days, according to my wife, she was a woman of great beauty, much wealth, and standing in her community. My wife is always amazed at how upbeat this woman is and how she radiates. So my wife asked her a question. “How do you find so much happiness and seem to have such a wonderful outlook on life when time has slowly robbed you of so many things you enjoyed? The response stayed with my wife and she repeated it to me the other day. I thought it was worth sharing. This elderly woman said, “It’s the interpretation of your life that matters!” “What do you mean?” my wife asked. She explained.

“If you examine your life, it’s really not what you have or don’t have. You can always be unhappy with things you don’t have, or be happy with the way things are! I could lament what I have lost and live miserably, and it wouldn’t change a thing. Or I can look at, or interpret my life in a positive way and see it as a great success while celebrating the wonderful things I still have. In interpreting my life with a healthy perspective, I can enjoy the richness of it, and find the daily enjoyments that this life has to offer. So even now, after losing so much, I chose to ‘interpret’ my life in a way that produces happiness!”

Her statement reminds me of words spoken in a talk given a number of years ago by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He said:

“Being grateful in times of distress does not mean we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges…This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.”

He further stated:
“Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision…It inspires humility and fosters empathy toward our fellowmen and all of God’s creation. Gratitude is a catalyst to all Christlike attributes. A thankful heart is the parent of all virtues” (GC April, 2014, “Grateful in any Circumstances)

From what I gleaned from my wife, her 94 year old friend is a woman of faith.
She has embraced what I was taught in the scriptures; gratitude to our Father above for even the smallest of blessings. This woman is preparing to….”enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalm 100:3) What a great outlook on life she has! This life is full of challenges and obstacles and surely the affects of age come to all who become ‘long in the tooth.’

The ‘interpretation’ of our lives affects ‘living after the manner of happiness’ we so desire. May we remember, even in the darkest of times, that ‘WE’ hold the key to how we view our present condition, and that view is vital in our search for eternal joy and happiness.

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