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Some call it fate. Others prefer the popular expression that sounds like “stuff happens,” but both describe what life throws at us beyond our control. When you really think about it, most of what we experience on a daily basis is not any of our doing.
That is why those people who seem to remain positive under even the most unlikely circumstances are a true blessing in disguise. Oh, I have heard how crazy it makes some folks when they have to suffer someone’s “over-the-top optimism” when they would rather have a pity party, but let’s face it, optimism is infectious. Try it yourself. The next time you ask someone how they are doing, and they answer in a less-than-positive way, see how they respond when you report that you are doing SUPER! It is almost impossible to ignore that type of response and most times it solicits a complete about face.
My father displayed this same infectious optimism, and once said when there is smoke on the horizon, others might fear that their house was burning down … or even worse, Armageddon had begun. But he always believed it was the smoke coming out of the smokestacks of his ship, and it was always coming in.
As I ponder how such positive influences have affected my own life, I seem to always reflect on the sheer delight that comes in meeting such positive souls during our journey. Some are fleeting – a one-shot conversation on a business trip, but most is a lifetime of conversations resulting in a living, growing relationship. Sometimes those conversations are not all positive, but rather “constructive,” as in building up instead of tearing down. They are all part of a process.
If all of this sounds reflective, it is. Today I started the day with the news that a friend and three of his colleagues died in a private airplane crash while returning home to Iowa. Tom Dunphy, Leslie O’Bannon, Eric Jacobs and Josh Trainor, who worked for Tom’s company, Two Rivers Marketing in Des Moines, Iowa, lost their lives in a freak crash that left their families and loved ones in shock. These vibrant young people, who worked on many of the ads you see in this magazine, and tried to help businesses in this industry grow and prosper, are suddenly gone. I’m convinced, though, their work, their personalities and their passions will live on.
These are the times when it seems difficult to find something positive to make out of this tragedy. If you believe that something good comes out of every action, then this same faith sustains us during the difficult days, and reminds us that we can be the conduits for maintaining the legacy of those who pass on before us. It becomes our responsibility then to exhibit the faith in where we believe they now are and where we will be going one day.