Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pearl 11: A Positive Attitude is Worth Its Weight in Gold

Dearest Eliana and Gehrig,

Good morning, my sweethearts.  It will be just five short days until we see you again and we can hardly wait.  Your Grandma Vicki and I have been cruising up inside the Arctic Circle and got to within about six miles of the Polar Ice Cap at about 82° latitude.  We have heard some people on this ship describe this part of the world as desolate and barren.  We have even heard a few call it ugly.  I disagree.  I think it has a unique stark beauty all its own and shows the power of nature in very specific ways.  The glaciers carved this land into majestic jagged peaks and low, mist covered valleys, deep gorges and ravines with perpetual snow caps, all bathed in subdued light from the low hanging sun filtered through overcast skies. 

Now desolate and barren are valid descriptions even though those words belie the beauty.  But ugly?  How can two people see the same thing and one describe it as barren and ugly and another see it as magnificent natural wonder? 

Yesterday, we spent a wonderful, sun-filled day in Tromso.  This university town is sprawled over nearly 1000 square miles on the mainland and islands of Norway.  With only about 60,000 people, it is not that large, population-wise, just spread out.  The town is surrounded with high, snow-capped mountains and is in its lush green summer period.  Wildflowers were all around and the houses are painted in gay colors.  We took the cable car or tram up to the top of Mt. Storsteinen and were treated to the most spectacular panoramic view of the entire Tromso area.  From that altitude we could clearly see probably 75 miles in all directions.  It was awe inspiring.  When we got back to our tour bus and were sitting there ready to return to the ship, we overheard a woman in front of us complain to her husband, “Well, I’ve been on better trams”.  This leads me to my next pearl.

Eleventh Pearl:  A Positive Attitude is Worth Its Weight in Gold

Most of the people on this ship can afford to travel anywhere they want to go in the world.  They have the wherewithal to travel in total luxury.  But, every once in a while you run into one of these privileged people who, despite all their gold, are literally wasting their money because they view their discoveries through negative eyes.  They concentrate on small, insignificant details and miss the beauty all around them.  Shoot, I would have gone up that mountain in a wheel barrel for the opportunity to see that view. 

Some people always see the glass as half empty while others see it as half full.  It is about looking at the world through positive eyes with a full heart.  Grandma and I hope that someday we can take you to some of the fabulous places we have seen.  We hope you are instilled with a sense of wonder at our fabulous planet and one day, when you have the resources of your own, continue to travel and explore and discover.  When you do that, my advice would be to spend your gold wisely and make the first thing you pack be your positive attitude.  In fact, keep it with you always.  You will be the happier for it.

See you on Saturday, my darlings, but until then God Bless you both.

Grandpa Jud

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