Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
July 24, 2011



Spend time with people who energize you and increase your joy


We should be careful about the people we choose to be around. The reason for caution is that we tend to become like the people around us.

Pessimism, for example, is contagious. Spend a lot of time with pessimistic people and you will become miserable. Companions who grumble about everything will usually cause us to join them in their complaining.  

Positive, fun-loving people should be our first choice. The best of them are the ones who will laugh with us, not at us, when we take a spill. People who “lecture” us about every mistake can squeeze the joy out of life. They have a gift: they can suck the energy out of you. The energy of positive people rubs off on you.  

I like people who possess confidence and dare to take risks. They have the fortitude to stick to what they are trying to do; they refuse to give up even when the odds seem against them.

Johnny Unitas was such a person.  One of the most famous quarterbacks in NFL history, Unitas at first was a third string quarterback. In one game when his team got behind, he sent himself into the game to replace the quarterback. He did not have the coach’s approval; he just ran on the field and took over. His leadership turned the game around; his team won, and the rest is history. 

         I love the story about the old woman who was looking for a space to park her bright red Mercedes.  Noticing a place up ahead she moved slowly toward it. Before she could get there, a young man in another car darted in front of her to claim the parking place. She rolled down her window as the young man walked away and demanded to know why he had been so rude.

         "Lady," he replied with a smile, "I guess that is what you can do when you are young and quick." As he walked on he heard tires squalling and looked back just in time to see the old lady ram her bright red Mercedes into the rear end of his car. Screaming at the woman as she got out of her car to await the police, the young man demanded an explanation. "Well, Sonny," she said, "That’s what you can do when you are old and rich!"
          That old woman is my kind of woman. She knew she was no longer young and quick but she was also realized she was not dead yet. She knew that older people still have a few options left. One of those options is to have fun until the end, to stay alive as long as you live. And it helps to spend time with people like that, people who refuse to be a doormat to some insensitive, arrogant idiot.  
         As we grow older we lose steam. Energy is hard to find. We lose the ability to do things we once did with ease. We suffer hearing loss, our eyesight dims, and our physical strength wanes. But we need not lose our enthusiasm for life itself. One woman put it this way, "I am 85 now. I cannot hear thunder, my eyesight is almost gone and I can hardly walk. But thank God, I still have my driver’s license!"
         We need such intestinal fortitude until our last breath.  Life is over once we throw in the towel and quit. Once we give up, quality living is history. We may continue to breathe but instead of living we will merely exist. That time may come but we need to put it off as long as we can. Somehow we must reach down and find the courage to keep going.  
         Stanley Jones he was in his late seventies when I first met him. But he was still hale, hearty and full of life. His mind was sharp; his wit was keen. There was nothing negative about him. “Brother Stanley,” as he wished to be called, was an immediate inspiration to me. Instantly I knew I wanted to be like him. 

Jones credited his good health and vitality to grace, gumption, and grass. He believed grace, the unmerited favor of God, was abundantly available every day for the asking. By grass he meant vitamin supplements. Gumption is “get up and go,” the inner strength to walk on despite pain and disabilities.  Brother Stanley had it; he practiced what he preached with a constantly cheerful spirit. I embraced him as my role model for life.  

          It takes courage to choose the people you hang around with. Sometimes you have to walk away from negative people who suck the joy out of your life. But we do have a choice. We can refuse to allow whining, complaining people to influence us. We can choose to spend most of our time with people who energize us, people whose presence brings enthusiasm and joy into our lives.  

You must decide. Decisions determine what kind of person you become. So make up your mind and do what seems best to you. After all, it’s your life.  + + +