03484_000_005Life comes one to a customer, so you need to do more than wish people happiness.
“Have a good day!” says the boy at the burger bar, handing you your change.
“Have a good one,” smiles the checkout girl at the supermarket.
Tutored to increase business by pleasing the customer these days, clerks, waiters, public servants, and attendants have made this farewell as traditional as the greeting, “Hello, how are you?” Friends and loved ones share the wish.
If only wishing made it so.
Life comes one to a customer, and since we all need all the help we can get, how about an added dimension to this familiar and friendly salutation? I learned such a variation on this theme several years ago.
One day I was walking to work and had stopped for a traffic light. There was a strong wind whipping around the buildings. A teenage boy suddenly moved past me as I stood on the curb. He stepped into the line of traffic, which was heavy at that hour of the day. Startled, I reached out to stop him. It was then that I realized he wasn’t just a carefree youth: he was blind!
He was on his way to the Blind Center a block or two farther on. We walked that way together, friends now, as he said, since I had probably saved his life.
He explained that at the blind school he was taught to listen to the traffic before he crossed a street. However, the wind that day was so severe that he couldn’t hear the usual traffic sounds, and he’d decided to take a chance. He was grateful that I had been watching.
I asked him how long he’d been blind. He told me his story.
“When I was eight years old my sole purpose in life was to be the world’s best and most famous baseball player,” he explained. “I was practicing one afternoon when a fellow player threw the bat after a hit. It landed across my eyes. This accident brought a terrible period of tribulation for my entire family.
“I was a mess,” he said. “I lived, but there was nothing science could do to restore my sight.”
“What happened next?” I asked, intensely interested in this vigorous, handsome teenager’s story.
“I withdrew from life. I sulked. I had tantrums. I wouldn’t go to school. I wouldn’t talk to friends. I hated my family, and I especially cried out in anger against God. I mean vocally. I would shout my hate—much to my religious mother’s deep distress. This went on for many months.
“One day my father coaxed me into going outside with him to fly a kite. He said I’d be able to feel the tug on the kite. It would be exhilarating even if I couldn’t see it. We got the kite up, and I was feeling pretty good as I held the string and felt the force at work. Suddenly, the course of the breeze changed and the kite got caught in a tree.
“I was soon out of control. I screamed and lay down on the grass and kicked. Oh, I was one ugly kid. My father called for the fire department, in desperation I guess. They came and got the kite down, but it was broken. More tantrums from me.
“‘Fix it! Fix it!’ I screamed. My dad tried explaining it all to me, but I would not be comforted. It was just another of life’s rotten tricks. Then Dad took my hand and moving my fingers with his, we traced the broken crossbars of the flimsy kite.
“‘See, son,’ he said, ‘It is broken. It can’t be fixed. Any repair work, however carefully done, could add weight to the kite and it wouldn’t fly. It just can’t be fixed. Like your eyes! We’ll have to go and do something else.’”
The young man paused in his tracks, shook his head, remembering. Then he turned toward me and said, “That was the phrase that made the difference. ‘Go and do something else.’ God had given us a lot of options, and Dad would find another one for us. I’m going to the blind school now and learning a trade.”
His feet had felt the pebbles laid in the concrete in front of the school as a signal for the blind students. “I’m here,” he explained confidently. “Thanks again. Make it a good day.”
He didn’t say “Have a good day” as so many well-wishers do. He said, “Make it a good day.”
With all that we have going for us, why not make it a good day? A positive approach is the beginning of winning.
Pleasant or miserable times can be tools for learning if our attitude is appropriate. The right attitude in adversity can help turn the helpless into the powerful.
God is good and all-powerful, and yet up and down the streets of life are untold suffering, struggle, frustration, wickedness, deprivation, heartbreak, and more. Why?
Some troubles we bring upon ourselves. Some we have no control over. We can only endure, cope, resolve, and learn from them. But what is God’s purpose for us in all this? Let’s refer to the word of God for understanding.
There was a conversation in heaven regarding the plan of life, as reported in Abraham 3:24–26: “We will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” [Abr. 3:24–26]
That’s the plan. How precious the experience must have appeared to us then! How powerful the promises! All of us who are here on earth voted to come. We had our agency, and we agreed that no matter what life might offer us in the fine details, no matter what we might have to suffer in learning and growing, we wanted to be part of it. We voted to take a body and go for the testing, the learning.
This grand adventure of choosing well is at every stage worth the battle. We are here to learn what the Savior learned. God is the author of the format, and he is the master teacher. He will not deny us our right to learn for ourselves those lessons that will prove beneficial, that will mark our development. This development includes how we deal with what happens to us, how we feel about life and God, and how much we learn that is of value to us now and in the eternities.
Each person must rise or fall with the challenges of his or her life. How we respond to them helps us become what, at last, we are going to be. It is up to us not only to make a good day but a good life.