Have you ever held a penny in front of your face and closed one eye while looking at the sun?
If not recently, I’m sure you have at one point in your life. It’s one of those tricks you’d do as a kid to help grasp the concepts of perspective, distance, and focus. The sun would be so big and bright as to almost not be viewable. But with a squint, a penny, and a couple feet between your face and the coin, the tiny penny would magically cover the massive sun and you could look straight past it. Remove the penny and your perspective is once again restored.
This is a practical analogy to our own lives. The sun represents the things we have to be grateful for – the family, friends, events, weather, health, or even simply another day above ground. The penny represents the things that detract us from this gratitude – the issues at work, the frustrations of a relationship, the anxious feeling of not being where we feel we’re supposed to be. Like the penny, these things are infinitesimally small relative to the sun. But when we squint our eyes and focus our vision on them, the sunshine ceases to exist and all we can see are the problems in front of us.
The struggle is never with our actual circumstances. The struggle is always with our focus and our perspective. We choose whether or not to hold the penny up, ignoring the sun behind it. We all have our own issues in life, and things that we battle with. It’s a part of being human. Our penny will shrink or grow in size at different points in our life. But no matter how big that penny becomes, no matter how great our struggles are, they will never compare to the size of the sun sitting behind it. When our gratitudes outweigh our attitudes, we win. But to do that we have to put down the penny, open our eyes, and look at the sunshine.