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Mary Ann Metzger: Look at the bright side to meet life’s challenges

The farmer drives by each day like clockwork as I sit by the window saying my morning prayers, waiting for the sun to rise. He is ready to spread a load of manure, which is to be expected in this farming community in the Town of Sheldon. Although there are newer methods used, the end result is the same.

I live on a very busy road and the traffic is flying by, as people hurry to get to work or wherever their day takes them. Most people are caught up in the rat race of life, but retirement years offer a lot of free time, much spent reflecting on past events.

As I see the brightness of the sun, and imagine the odor of the fertilizer about to be spread, I think, “Well, that is the way life is. There are bright and sunny days and days that just plain reek.”

I remember the time that Kate, my then 7-year-old granddaughter, ran into her mother’s arms sobbing, “Mom, I just got dumped.” She thought the boy next door was her boyfriend and he had yelled over the line fence, “Kate, I’m dumping you.”

My first thought when she confided in me was “how ridiculous.” Then I realized it was just one of those hurdles in life. Even young children experience rejection and unhappy days, but they survive.

Just this spring my son came home to find Kate sitting in a tree reading a book. She had no time to acknowledge her dad because she was absorbed in the story without a care in the world.

Reminiscing on my childhood years can be soothing and relaxing, especially when dwelling on the brighter side of past events. Raising six children to adulthood and beaming in their accomplishments is rewarding, as is the year-by-year progress of watching my grandchildren ease into maturity.

But on those days when things don’t go well for them, hurt and a feeling of helplessness arise because it is out of my hands. It seems they should not have to deal with the quandaries of life. But stress in the world is inevitable.

Looking back, many things that seemed to be traumatic at the time were only minor instances in the end. As we age, we tend to see things much more clearly.

I do wonder about things, though: Why is there bullying to contend with? Why can’t people be kind? Why is there so much violence in the world? Where are our manners? And what is wrong with world affairs?

It appears to me that even the grown-ups don’t know all the answers. Greed, dishonesty and leaders without moral values contribute to a lot of issues, as does the presidential race with all the slander, lies and false promises.

It is no wonder our young people find it hard to see the brighter side and sometimes become a statistic on the daily news.

But in many ways, life doesn’t change. Children are busy at play. The young will plan for the future amidst sunshine and cloudy days. Senior citizens will think of the good old days as it becomes harder for them to accept changes.

Like the farmer struggling to keep afloat, there is no escaping the challenges of life. Thus I will continue to look for the rising sun and a new day ahead. There is no guarantee how long the farmer will drive by, or how long I will sit here and observe him, but for now it is a reminder to take the time to enjoy the sweet scents of life. I refuse to get the short end of the stick. My long range may be shorter, but I’m still on the scale.