Friday, September 4, 2015


           Are You a "Balcony" Person?

     As I was cleaning out some drawers, I came across a couple of CDs by our former minister at Wrightsville Beach Methodist Church. This one particular sermon dealt with people Reverend Bob calls “balcony people” as opposed to “basement people.” I thought about this concept. “Balcony people” are those who wave from above, cheering you on, affirming your talent, your best you. They raise you up. “Basement people” are those who bring you down. They are always wallowing in life’s muck, and their focus is usually not on others, but on themselves and all the negative they can find. These people squeeze all the energy and happy out of us, sometimes without our realizing it.

     Now I am the first to admit that I have exhibited characteristics of both in my day. I aspire, however, to the balcony rather than to the cellar. As we mature or age, and these
aren’t necessarily simultaneous, we begin to realize that some of these “basement people” are dragging us down, and it is time to leave them down there in the mold and cold and move on. Sometimes these people can be long-time friends; other times, they can be those we think we want to include in our circles but discover they walk away from us on any given occasion leaving us feeling sad, mad or confused.

     So does this mean we should never whine, vent or bemoan the state of the world or our own human condition? Of course not. It does suggest, however, that on those days when the world is closing in, and none of the “feel better” techniques are doing their magic, it might be best to wallow in private rather than taking it out on someone else. On the days, hopefully, most days, when we are feeling cheerful, energetic and charitable, we need to reach out and spread the joy. Watch the sparkle in someone’s eye when you give them a compliment. Hear the fresh energy in the voice of someone whom you have made laugh. See the frown disappear when you have listened with empathy to a friend in need.

     Yes, I know. It all sounds so altruistic—so goody-goody. But, guess what? Goody-goody works. Everyone feels better, and as I’ve always said,

             Laughter is contagious; spread the virus.