Welcome! This site is an endeavor to spread an attitude of positive thinking and optimism. By searching for joy and beauty in all things - even the mundane, perhaps a smile will spread from my computer ... to you!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"How To Be An Angel..."

I love modern technology. We added the “TEVO” service to our satellite/cable service last year, and simply put - it's amazing!

Since my husband and I don't watch a huge amount of television, this handy little service allows us to record the programs we do watch, and save them until a time when we can view them. (without having to deal with tapes or discs.) With the boys still at home, it's really handy when mom and dad are forced to watch something later on!

The other day I noticed that Oprah had a special guest on that my husband and I had recently been reading about. He wasn't quite ready to leave his home-office for the day, so I recorded the show so that we could watch it together. Oprah's guest that day was Mr. Roger Ebert, the famous movie critic (most notably of  At The Movies - with Siskel and Ebert) who has been battling Thyroid cancer since about 2005. Even though the majority of her show that day was to be on the upcoming Oscars, I was so glad that we had the opportunity to watch this particular piece together, because Roger Ebert's appearance was extremely inspirational, and it couldn't have come at a better time for us.

Because of the degree of Mr. Ebert's cancer, the entire lower portion of his jaw was removed. Many of you might remember what this gentleman previously looked like during the high-point of his career.  The numerous surgeries he has had to endure have dramatically changed his appearance. What deeply impressed us was that his appearance is no longer as important to him, and Roger had no issues with being on television in front of millions of people, speaking through his wife and the latest in computer/voice technology.

His entire career being the sharing of thoughts and opinions to millions of people, Roger can no longer communicate with his own voice, and no longer eat or drink. Accompanied by his wife Chaz, Oprah asked if Roger missed "eating." Chaz responded that he actually missed the bonding and camaraderie that occurs when sharing meals with friends and family. He now often watches his wife eat, vicariously experiencing the meal through her.

Even in the face of such hardship (which honestly, would crush the best of us) Roger Ebert exudes courage, strength, and peace. He has continued to find meaning and purpose in his life, not letting his unfortunate medical past and ensuing physical handicaps prevent him from taking part in life's special events – he's even attending this year's Academy Awards show. He continues to write movie reviews and news, as well as his personal journal and blog (see the links below).  More importantly, Roger is determined to live his life in an attitude of Joy:

"I believe that if - at the end of it all - according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime; to make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  We must try to contribute Joy to the world.  That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances - we must try.  I didn't always know this, and I am happy that I have lived long enough to find it out."   

(Passage read from Roger Ebert's journal by his wife Chaz on Oprah, Wednesday, March 3, 2010.)

Roger had written this testimony down prior to the show, and as his wife read it aloud to the audience and viewers, it was obvious that it had deeply moved Oprah Winfrey. My husband and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes. This is a man who clearly knows why he is still here, and continues to courageously walk forward in that belief.

Even though their presence might come to us via the television, internet, mail or other form of communication, I firmly believe that God “places” certain people in our paths at specific moments in our lives. There are many definitions of what an angel is, but I personally believe it is a being(s) sent or placed to be near us at crucial times in our lives. My husband and I were immediately uplifted upon witnessing Roger Ebert's cheerful and poignant message, and I knew deep within that the two of us were meant to hear it together at that particular moment. For this reason, I not only believe that angels exist in the spiritual realm, but here on earth as well.

We might not actually consider a particular person an “angel,” but perhaps their presence or the manner in which they were introduced into our lives was indeed an angelic moment. Many would call this divine providence, and it's not uncommon for this to happen when we least expect it, often not even noticing that we've made a deep, spiritual connection with another. I'm quite certain that at some point in my life, I may have personally missed the signs that I had crossed paths with someone that touched me in this regard - or that I might have touched theirs.

Perhaps when we are at our lowest moments - when we are searching for guidance and any form of hope – our hearts are more open to recognizing those that come to us with angelic aid. It can be quite easy to ignore the fact that “someone” else might have played a part in our lives when things are going smoothly.

While it's very important, taking time to “stop and smell the roses” doesn't necessarily mean that we should take time to relax and just enjoy being where we are. It can also mean taking time to notice those around us – even though they may have come into our lives only briefly – and appreciating their presence and connection to us at that moment.

Since I began this blog, I've found myself becoming even more attuned to those around me – even those that I “meet” on television or the internet. While writing, I'm opening my heart and soul to the page. Prior to putting a particular thought or idea to pen, I've almost always been struck with the realization that someone else has played an integral part in my feelings or experiences.

I'm certain that Roger Ebert has no idea that he touched our hearts so deeply yesterday, as well as hundreds of thousands of others.  Sometimes the Lord places an angel in the path of many...  it's up to us to notice and take heed of their message.

Sometimes God uses us, without us even knowing. 

Perhaps you will be an angel today - bringing your own, very special gift of Joy to another who needs it - at just the right moment.

Pay it forward - spread a smile!

For addtional information on Roger Ebert:

Roger's Journal / reviews:

Guest appearance on Oprah:

Esquire Magazine's Profile on Roger Ebert:

Photos property of Google Images & Esquire Magazine

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