Choosing to remember the positive

Published 6:12pm Friday, July 19, 2013

Ever since I was a child I have loved the movie, “The Sound of Music,” and to this day I often have moments where I pretend to be Maria von Trapp — even if that only means blasting the movie’s soundtrack in my car as I drive across Dallas County.

I am proud to say I still know all of the words to every song, and if asked I could probably reenact the entire movie myself.

In fact, I can remember as a child, my sister and I, would actually reenact the scene in which all of the Captain’s seven children were afraid of the storm and jumped on and around Fraulein Maria’s bed, singing a list of their favorite things to help them to forget their fears and focus on the positive. When it would rain, my sister and I would jump on her bed shouting out a few of our favorite things like climbing trees, reading books, wearing braided hair, playing Polly Pockets and eating toast. We would ultimately land in the middle of the bed, out of breath and in a fit of what can only be referred to as “sister giggles.”

This week I was reminded of my love for “The Sound of Music,” and the lessons to be learned from its songs.

In “The Sound of Music,” the lyrics to “My Favorite Things,” read, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad — I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.”

While rainstorms, dog bites and bee stings may be frightening; those aren’t necessarily the issues that would lead me to sing about my favorite things these days. This week it was the city’s struggle with social issues, the need for protestors at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the number of crime reports published and an attempted suicide right outside my office window that caused me to feel not only sad, but slightly defeated and disheartened about the state of this city.

As a journalist you can’t help but absorb the emotions involved in any particular scene, meaning even after the photos are taken, the interviews are done, the story is on the page and it’s time for me to go home, the images, stories and sounds don’t stay on the page — they’re taken to heart.

There were things I saw and heard in Selma this week that broke my heart. But instead of feeling defeated, I remembered the lyrics to one of my favorite songs reminding me that thinking of my favorite things,could make me feel better.

So that’s what I did. On a giant poster board I wrote down all of my favorite things, even simple things like front porch swings. And as the board filled up with hundreds of positive things, I was reminded of all of the good in Selma and was able to forget, at least for a while, the negative things that can so often make us sad.

Editor's Picks