Remember the challenging board game: Clue?
The object of the game is for players (characters) to strategically move around the game board (a mansion), collecting clues from which to deduce which suspect murdered the game’s perpetual victim: Dr. Black, and with which weapon, and in what room.
I loved the game as a kid because you had to gather information, you had to think, deduce, and render a conclusion. It seemed like a wonderful journey and adventure in mystery. I was fascinated by the whole concept. I might guess wrong, but even the wrong answers would eventually lead me closer to the correct result.
I loved wondering…who’d done it? But I was also curious about how they got there.
Like Clue, life seems to be its own challenging adventure. Ask the right questions. Make an effort. You get to decide your moves around the board. Think, deduce, and eventually your wrong answers lead you closer to the correct result.
In my own personal game of life, I’ve certainly had my share of challenging adventures. Don’t we all? Which is why I’ve always been surprised by the same similar questions:
- “How do you stay so positive?”
- “Why are you not angry?”
- “How did you move forward after that?”
I used to just answer, “I don’t know, I just take it one step at a time.” Though true, I began to question, is being positive a skill, a decision, or merely a personality trait?
Being positive, or rather finding the positive in a given situation, is a conscious choice I make just about every single day. It’s not always easy when my emotions seem to gain more ground than I’d like. It’s not easy when I see cruelty, hear ignorance, or feel as if heartache is just too much to take. So, I asked myself how can I diminish, or remove that anger and negativity? Well, it’s not unlike the skills I used as a child while playing Clue. Except now the perpetual victim isn’t Dr. Black, it’s negativity, it’s anger, it’s fear.
- I gather information: Do I have all the facts? Did I listen with an opened mind and heart?
- I deduce: Is this worth being happy or sad about?
- I conclude: I choose to be happy. I choose not to let this break me, hurt me, or keep me from living my best possible life. I choose my own conclusion.
If we just negatively emotionally respond to all the challenges and hardships in life, then we’re just helpless victims. If we decide that we can control how we choose to respond well, then, that makes the difference in the quality of how we live our lives. We can’t control others, we can’t control catastrophes or all the heartbreaking hardships that befall on us, but we do have a choice of how we choose to respond to them.
Now mind you, this way of thinking didn’t happen overnight and it’s not always easy. I’ve lived through enough pain and heartache to be angry at the world until my last breath. I’ve been angry, very angry. I’ve been hurt, to the core of my being hurt. I’ve wallowed in deep despair and depression. But one day I sat down and wondered, do I want to live the rest of my life letting outside circumstances control my joy that lives within me? I questioned who I was and how I wanted to live.
That day turned into a day of writing and soul searching. By the end of the night, I had created my own ‘mission statement’ about who I wanted to be and how I was going to get there. This is what I wrote:
“I will continue to grow emotionally, intellectually, and enjoy the journey that is my life. I intend on doing this by reflecting on past experiences, grasping new concepts, and seeing the bigger picture. My life’s adventure will continue to challenge me with possibilities and opportunities for which I will be grateful. My writings, my books (Beyond Breathing and See You at Sunset, Embracing the Beauty in the Broken), will be a catalyst with which I will utilize to compassionately help those with grief and their own personal journey. I will actively seek to be inspired, and I’ll aspire to be inspiring. I will live with purpose and meaning. I will continue to be a dedicated volunteer to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as a fundraiser, advocate, and voice for those who battle this disease. I will seek enjoyment and fulfillment in my personal life through reading thought-provoking books, writing with candor and contemplation, and spending quality time in meaningful conversations with family, friends, and complete strangers. My greatest source of strength comes from God and those who see my authentic truth. My quest is to evolve into the person I was meant to be, the person who has faced her childhood fears of inadequacy and now has the tenacity it takes and has learned the skills needed to face future unknown obstacles with courage and grace. I will strive to incorporate attributes like passion and perseverance, inspiration and motivation, friendship and love, in all aspects of my life. I will regularly focus on the importance of taking care of my mind, body, and soul while I pursue my objectives. I will trust myself not to lose faith in my ability to overcome challenges no matter how hard they may seem. My character goal is to be known for having integrity, persistence, and passion for life, knowing my most valuable commodity is my time, and my most cherished possession is the ability to love with all my heart.”
Yup…that’s it. My mission. And now, I’m me on a mission. I read it every time I seem to need a booster shot of perspective.
I believe you always have a choice on how to see life, and the one constant I found in life is that life constantly changes and so does the way you see it. Some things I’ll choose to cry over and some things I won’t. Some things are worth my time and some things just aren’t. Some people make dreams happen while other people make excuses. I know I’ll still make wrong choices, and life will continue to throw challenges my way, but I will continue to pursue a life in kindness, gratitude, love and with as much passion I can muster.
Render your own conclusion.
Now, back to Clue and Colonel Mustard. Maybe he did with a candlestick, in the Cellar, to light the way for others?
Maybe Miss Scarlett did it with a wrench, in the kitchen to fix something that was seemingly broken?
What about you? How have you removed the anger lurking just beneath the surface? Did you do it with compassion, on the internet with kindness in your comments?
Or maybe you did it with humor, in the Study, with heartfelt forgiveness to someone who didn’t deserve it?
Perhaps you stood up to debilitating fear with total honesty, in the living room, to your spouse?
No matter how you do it, gather the clues until you get to the correct answer. Get in the game, decide for yourself, don’t be a pawn to your own emotions. Remember, it’s your life and if you don’t decide “Who’d done it?” someone will decide for you.
Find your mission, it’s not impossible, and make your adventure your own wonderful journey.