The Honourable Company of Silver Miners.

23 Mar 2016

"You are always so cheery and optimistic!"

"You always look on the bright side – don't you?"

"I've never met anyone quite as positive as you!"

Yes, all these remarks, and many similar, have been made to me in the past.

It's ironic then, that they are made to someone who suffers with depression. And – no – those remarks are not made when I'm flying high on the other end of the bipolar either. This is normality.

Critics call it being a Pollyanna. But I should imagine those critics have never read that excellent book by Eleanor H Porter, because Pollyanna herself goes through some dark times and also struggles to look on the bright side.

I call it being a silver miner.

We are told that every cloud has a silver lining and in my experience that is always true. Even if that lining is thin, and even if there is a lot of black cloud to get through first.

We look at divorce, bereavement, redundancy, injury, illness and cannot immediately see the positive side of it all. It actually takes acceptance of the dark cloud, almost an embracing of it, before you can start to see anything good inside.

Silver is rarely lying around on the ground, waiting to be picked up. It has to be dug for.

And it's also easy to miss.

Sometimes we are so intent on bewailing our misfortune that we allow the good stuff to slip by, unnoticed.

The kindness and generosity of family, friends and strangers, for instance.

How many times, in the abyss of grief, has a bereaved person said, "People have been so kind..."

Note; the silver never negates the cloud. The cloud is there. The series of unfortunate events has still occurred.

The difference is that you travel through the cloud. There is sun on the other side.

You can choose to hold onto the memory of the cloud, or you can choose to take the silver. You can keep the silver; it adds to your emotional wealth. If you try to keep the cloud it just makes you wet and soggy.

So, go on: sharpen up that pick-axe.

You'll be relieved to know that there is no requirement to sing "Hi Ho, Hi Ho!"


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