July 3, 2017

These Two Things

Happy Independence Day on July 4th to my American readers and visitors. Freedom is one of life's greatest treasures. To often, we take our right to live, worship, think, and speak as we choose for granted. In honor of true patriots who loved and died for this country, we celebrate with flags, hymns, traditions, and spectacular fireworks.

How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your last page to read? Every life is a story. Every story has a hero. And every hero needs that one attribute to give the story power and make it to the final reward. Like our heroes, I believe two of the most important traits we must acquire in this lifetime are integrity and cheer.

Two words. They sound simple, but if we rated the most desirable attributes to attain, I think integrity and cheer would stand at the pinnacle of a very long list.

Integrity? It's not complicated. We don't need a dictionary to define it. Integrity means honor. It is truthful, courageous, earnest, and allows for sacrifice and disappointment. Integrity is being true to everyone we meet, to ourselves, and most importantly, to a higher power, that God we believe in. A person of integrity will live by all of the other treasured values that fall under it. It is doing the right and best things, always.

They say character is what we do when no one is watching; I believe that word to be a synonym for honor, too. When we think, work, and live with honor, we have integrity, and everything around us will fight for our good.

Cheerfulness seems like a second thought, but it is so nearly as important as integrity, that without it, a life of honor would be stoic and unbearable. We are human. The feelings we carry inside can be as much a burden as the trials and challenges around us. We cannot stand tall if we are tired or broken on the inside. Sometimes we have to choose the attitude. It's not always easy.

Cheer is the smile you offer to the stranger in the grocery store. It is laughing when you feel like crying. It's singing a song when there are so many other responses. Cheer is the frosting on life's cupcake; a giant ribbon on a beautifully wrapped gift; the little happy dance we do even if it's in the rain.

Bilbo Baggins. JesicaLR. Wikimedia Commons.
We need more integrity and cheer. Not just in our stories, but in our lives. Where would the world be without our honorable Bilbo Baggins and Harry Potters? Without our cheerful Peter Pans and Willy Wonkas?  Our stories and folktales are symbols of the lives we hope to live hidden deep down in our hearts. We want to be good, and so many other things. At our best, we are driven to be happy and laugh and inspire others.

We have a finite amount of days in this world to become. While there are so many values that are important and good, there are some that stand higher and encompass more than others. There is no life wasted that is lived with honor. And I believe, that every life lived with cheer lifts others and ourselves higher, as we radiate hope to those around us.

Every story has a hero. Like so many before us, including honorable friends and patriots, some day ours will end, too. Of all the things you leave behind on your final page for others to remember, I hope you end your story with integrity and cheer.

Stay Balanced,
~Danielle Thorne~

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