I choose to be positive

The sky is bluer, and the stars are more visible at night. Rooms, streets, markets, and even our seas, are now tidied up. Family members are spending more time with one other. People are “connecting” with old and new friends.

Our “screens” these days show us so many testing POSITIVE. The number of the infected, the deaths, and the enforced community quarantine, the economic recession… I worry, above all, that all these, plus the apparent uncertainty of our fate risks a pernicious and a more serious danger: that we all be NEGATIVE, pessimists, hopeless and miserable in spirit.

The spiritual leader of the close to 1.5 billion Catholics imparted a solemn blessing to Christ’s faithful relatively recently.

Pope Francis prayed to God: “You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing…a time to choose what matters.” I agree. And I feel that one of the crucial choices in this very delicate situation in human history is this: to choose to be POSITIVE.

It is pretty obvious that I am not referring to a suicidal attempt. I speak of getting a different ‘virus’ that comes from within, that every human being is capable of ‘mutating’ on one’s own. We all desire to be happy, and we can be if we want, yes, even today and now.

Some would call it a mindset, others—an approach to life—and there are those who describe it as the state of the soul. I see it as a choice, a very personal one and it could change your world, and those around you. I’m a chaplain by profession and not a Chaplin, but Charlie’s words really hit the mark: “You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”

Yes. Today, look up and realize that the spectrum has indeed expanded and the world is slowly changing, and with its “silver linings” even.

The sky is bluer, and the stars are more visible at night. Look a little beyond and you find out that the rooms, streets, markets, and even our seas, are now tidied up.

Look around you and you’ll see that family members are spending more time with one other. People are “connecting” with old and new friends.

Look from within, and you will appreciate the silence, the peace, and the spiritual developments that are taking place…

Prayer is becoming central at home. Solidarity is at its finest. Heroism is on the rise. Humanity is advancing in knowledge and wisdom (as countless books are read), and quality as well (as personal hobbies are cultivated).

I’m not counselling you to be naïve but these are the certain things that we cannot ignore today. This is POSITIVE.

Our language experts teach us that the certainty is the original sense of the word “positive”. A late Middle English word from the Latin “positivus”, which has “posit-“ ‘placed’ at its root, from the verb “ponere”, it was used to refer to laws as being formally ‘laid down’, which gave rise to the sense ‘explicitly laid down and admitting no question’, hence ‘certain’. Words evolve and acquire derived meanings. At the turn of the 20th century, it started to allude to the sense of “concentrating on what is constructive and good”. With positivity (certitude of the good things), one can have a positive outlook (optimism).

Symbolically, POSITIVE is represented by a plus sign (+) in contrast with NEGATIVE (-). For Christians, this may further cast light on something dear—the big icon not only for math problems, but any equation in life: the Cross, the glory of Jesus the Christ. NEGATIVES (minuses) can always be made POSITIVE with a vertical line, a vision for transcendence connecting the two points: one above (God) and another at the bottom (man).

The words of the Holy Father addressing the world in this time of crisis recently could indeed be understood: “God turns to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things.” With Him, we will always be, and we have to choose to be positive.

Written by Rev. Fr Johnpaul Menchavez, chaplain of PAREF Southridge
Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

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