Find yourself caught in the "current of sadness?" Courier-Post columnist Danny Henley shares a lifeline.
When I get home from work of an evening, whether I’ve been covering a meeting or in charge of putting out the next day’s edition of the Courier-Post, I will typically “depressurize” by watching some television. Such was the case a couple of Thursday nights ago.
While normally I’ll find a movie to watch, on this particular night my channel surfing ended on a PBS channel, where talk show host Charlie Rose was interviewing a famous actor.
“He looks familiar, but I can’t place him,” remarked my bride, Nancy, who had entered the room and stood for a few minutes, arms crossed, staring at the actor’s face. “What have I seen him in?”
As invariably happens, Nancy had caught me with a mouth full of toothpaste, which makes it impossible to answer anything but queries requiring a “yes” or “no” response.
As I made my way to the bathroom sink to download, my mind attempted to come up with a movie the actor had appeared in that Nancy might have seen. The only one that immediately came to mind was “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Of all the movies that Robert Redford has appeared in during his career – “The Sting,” “The Natural,” “The Way We Were,” “The Horse Whisperer,” “All the President’s Men” – all I could think of at that moment was the 1969 western in which he co-starred with Paul Newman.
It would be easy to not recognize the now 77-year-old actor, but I knew his voice the second I heard it.
I’m assuming Redford was on the show to promote his latest movie, “All Is Lost,” in which he reportedly is the only person on the screen. But what kept me tuned in were some insights Redford had to share regarding life in general.
During the course of his dialogue with Rose, Redford shared that he believes life is inherently filled with sadness. I believe he referred to it as a “current of sadness” that flows through one’s life. Redford also shared how he’s learned to tap into that sadness in such a way that it’s brought him positive results.
Redford’s suggestion that life is marked by sadness has stuck with me, which is likely evident since I’m pounding out a column about it.
I can certainly see where such a notion has validity. Even if fortunate enough to grow up with loving parents and with all one’s physical needs met, one can be sad because we’re not the smartest or prettiest kid at school or home. When one strikes out on their own, sadness can appear when we fail to meet our goals and expectations, or find that reaching our objectives is not as fulfilling as we’d anticipated. Then in our later years, as life transitions again, sadness can dog us for any number of reasons – failing health, loneliness, lost freedom.
I’ve always had a different view of life. I’ve envisioned it being much like a line generated by a seismograph, marked by both peaks of happiness and valleys of sadness. The majority of the time, however, the line is pretty flat as we work through our day-to-day lives. But there just might be a way to generate more peaks of happiness.
Nancy came home from her Monday night Bible study recently more upbeat than normal. The study had centered on one’s attitude, and more specifically, trying to view things from a positive perspective.
Have a kid that can’t stand the sight of you? Be thankful for the children that still speak to you.
Your hours at work have been cut? Be thankful to still have a job.
Have an annoying physical condition? Be thankful it’s not a life-threatening disease.
A positive attitude won’t make everything right in your life that’s wrong, but it might enable you to escape the “current of sadness.”