Attitude” is a prominent topic of discussion during this time of COVID-19. Remaining positive and optimistic while attempting to navigate our challenging journey helps us build resilience and remain healthy. In the face of overwhelming tragedy, sadness, and loss, websites are brimming with recommendations on emotional and physical survival techniques. These include ways we treat others who hold viewpoints distinct from our own. Basically—do we pass the “nice” test? Are we able to rise above the issues themselves—mask or no mask; social distancing or crowded gatherings—and behave toward one another with kindness, compassion, and respect, no matter the divergence in perspective? The way we interact with others can raise a person’s stress level and feelings of isolation; or, it can generate feelings of calmness, acceptance, and hope.
Being “right” about an issue isn’t always the most important thing.
Attitude makes a difference.
The impact attitude can make on our lives recently hit home when I read an article in a local Big Rapids, Michigan, newspaper entitled “Around the World in 91 Years, Big Rapids Woman Not Slowing Down.”1 The subject of the profile, Ramona Seath-Lubke, a lifetime Seventh-day Adventist, credited “having a great attitude throughout life” as a secret to longevity.
“I like to encourage [people] to dig deep within their lives to see their potential,” Seath-Lubke is quoted as saying. “Everyone has potential, and once they find it, they can help inspire others and live a more purposeful life.”
Born in Evart, Michigan, in 1929, Seath-Lubke—a professional gospel singer, a small-plane pilot, and holding degrees in nursing and psychology—has called numerous places home. She has also traveled extensively to such locations as Germany, England, Alaska, and Hawaii—making many friends along the way. Even now, Seath-Lubke doesn’t sit around watching life pass her by. She begins her day with Bible study and asking the Lord, “If somebody needs me today, for whatever it is, please let me know.” She says she loves people and believes that’s why she’s here: to help others. “I want to have a purpose in life,” she says,then fills her days with walking at a nearby sports track, cycling, bowling, ice skating, and tennis.
“I like to stay busy and interact with people,” Seath-Lubke told me in an e-mail. “My mother taught me to be kind and to love people, and I’ve tried to be like that as well.” Even a warm smile and a hello to strangers can make a person’s day, she says.
Ellen White agrees: “The very expression of the countenance has an influence for good or evil. His spirit, his words, his actions, his attitude toward others, are unmistakable. . . . If he is filled with the love of Christ, he will manifest courtesy, kindness, tender regard for the feelings of others and will communicate to his associates, by his acts of love, a tender, grateful, happy feeling. It will be made manifest that he is living for Jesus.”2
In other words, being “right” about an issue isn’t always the most important thing or the most effective way to witness; sometimes it’s our attitude that makes the difference.
Sandra Blackmer is an assistant editor for Adventist Review.