It’s all UP to you

A few days ago I got an interesting e-mail. It was a Christian message made up of seven brief paragraphs. Each paragraph consisted of a heading, a one-sentence explanation, and a biblical quotation. The seven headings were: Wake Up!, Dress Up!, Shut Up!, Stand Up!, Look Up!, Reach Up!, Lift Up!

I thought it was a great idea and decided to create my own version. I changed the text and removed the biblical quotations because my writing is not directed at just one group of people. Besides, breaking people down into groups such as Christians, non-Christians, agnostics, and atheists is, I think, a superficial way of looking at humanity and divisive. Once we tear away the labels, we find that we are all the same, and none of us are any closer to or further from the truth. My version of the article follows and is called, “It’s all UP to you.”

REACH UP. Stretch yourself. As Eric Butterworth (1916 ~ 2003) said, “Don’t GO through life, GROW through life.” Discover who you really are. Unleash the powers within you. For the goal of life, according to Butterworth, is to “open out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape.”

LIVE UP to your dreams and ideals. Set goals and create meaning and purpose in your life. Remember that life is not about what you accumulate, but about what you become. Don’t concern yourself with what you leave behind. Rather, concentrate on what you leave within.

LIVE IT UP! Discover the grandeur of life. Soak it in. Revel in it. As the song says, “I hope you dance.” But don’t dance alone. Just as a shooting star leaves a long, brilliant trail, leave joy in your wake and share it with everyone.

WAKE UP to what is important. What is important? Feeling important is not. Being important is. You can be important in the lives of others by being a source of friendship and inspiration. Most human beings are starving for understanding, acceptance, and recognition. Feed their hunger by treating everyone as though they are important (which they are). LIFT UP others with your positive spirit and encouraging words. If you want to matter, remember that everyone else does, too. So, start making a life, instead of making a living.

GROW UP. Take responsibility. Be accountable for all your actions. When you can live with their consequences, you will know what it is to be free. Don’t COVER UP your mistakes. Don’t shift the blame. Instead, learn from the past and move on.

Don’t STIR UP trouble. Instead, be a peacemaker. Don’t BLOW UP over trivial matters. Instead, be patient. Accept the inconsistencies and minor inconveniences of life. Or, as Roger C. Andersen wrote, “Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.” Don’t get BENT UP out of shape over the cruel remarks of others. Instead, forgive them for their insecurity and weakness. Don’t EAT UP your heart with resentment and anger. Instead, FILL UP your heart with love and understanding. Don’t resent people for being people. Accept their flaws and they will likely accept yours.

Don’t BREAK UP friendships because of pride, lack of patience, or a misunderstanding. Don’t DIG UP the dirt on others by gossiping, for when you do so, the only reputation your soil is your own. Don’t THROW UP the past and hurl blame on others. Instead, CLEAN UP your act and MAKE UP with your friends and PATCH UP all your relationships. For friendships are to be cherished. I’m sure you agree with British Statesman Joseph Addison (1672
~1719) that “Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.”

BEAR UP to the challenges life offers. FACE UP to your problems. GET UP again whenever you are knocked down. PICK UP the pieces and get on with life. We don’t grow courageous by leading a life of ease. Rather, we become warriors by overcoming adversity, licking our wounds, and moving forward. Should you stumble and fall, that’s just a short trip on your journey, so never GIVE UP.

SUMMON UP your courage. RISE UP over your fears. Life is a glorious adventure. Embark on a quest to discover the person you can become. The rewards for overcoming our fears are great. And an example of one man’s success appears in the following story, which appears in the book, “The Mendelssohns: Three Generations of Genius” by Herbert Kupferberg.

Moses Mendelssohn (1729 ~ 1786) was a brilliant philosopher often called “the Socrates of Berlin.” On a trip to Hamburg in 1762, the then 33-year old Moses met a beautiful 24-year old blonde, blue-eyed woman named Fromet Gugenheim (1738 ~ 1812). He was at once smitten with her. However, because of his misshapen body and hunchback, she was uncomfortable in his presence. Fearful, yet determined, Moses spoke to her privately, telling her this tale.

“When a Jewish child is born, proclamation is made in heaven of the name of the person that he or she is to marry. When I was born, my future wife was also named, but at the same time it was said that she herself would be humpbacked. ‘O God,’ I said, ‘a deformed girl will become embittered and unhappy. Dear Lord, let me have the hump, and make her fair and beautiful.'”

Fromet was moved by the story, and in June 1762, they were married. They had six children, including Abraham who was the father of the eminent composer, Felix Mendelssohn. If Moses had given in to his fear, not only would he have lost the love of his life, but also the world would have lost the music of Felix Mendelssohn!

Like Moses Mendelssohn, RISE UP to the occasion. Prove you are worthy of it. FOLLOW UP on all your opportunities. And BACK UP your dreams with actions. You will find it is much easier to make a success IN life than to make a success OF life, so keep working on it.

SPEAK UP for your rights and the rights of others, but don’t SPEAK DOWN to your opponents. STAND UP for what you believe in and don’t PUT UP with injustice. FIRE UP your enthusiasm and TAKE UP a cause. Contribute to life and be kind to others. You’ll never regret doing so, for you’ll find that you cannot become a success unless many other people want you to be.

Let those of us who are parents BRING UP our children with love. Let’s not HOLD UP their progress because of criticism. Instead, in our family conversations, let’s BRING UP positive subjects. And at family gatherings let’s PERK UP the conversation with joyous laughter. Let’s also teach our children to LOOK UP to others, giving them positive role models to aspire to.

And like Lily Tomlin, remember that you’re a somebody. Here’s what she said, “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” So, let’s WRAP UP every day by reflecting on our achievements and our mistakes. Let’s be grateful for our successes and learn from our missteps. Yes, life can be great, but it’s all UP to you!