Bryan is a happy person. He is almost perpetually cheerful and upbeat. Overly happy people tend to annoy me, but Bryan manages to have a depth and realism about him that makes his happy-go-lucky personality not only palatable, but even attractive and inspiring.
Bryan understands that life is hard; that people are messy; that plans go awry and pain is inevitable. But he has developed a mindset of reframing his unpleasant life circumstances. Bryan wholeheartedly believes that every situation in life can be a blessing; we just need to view it as such.
As an ardent Christian, I know intellectually that “all things work together for the good of those who love God” (Rom. 8:28) and that we are to rejoice in our sufferings because “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4). But Bryan is one of those rare individuals who actually lives this out on a daily basis. He genuinely finds that Life is Good regardless of circumstances. His hope is in truth and purpose beyond what is seen.
I was recently supposed to meet a friend for coffee after work – one of the models at a past photo shoot. Because of her schedule, she needed to meet at 5pm, so I left work early, battled rush hour traffic, got cursed at and received profane hand gestures from fellow drivers, and screeched into the parking lot of Starbucks at 5:02pm. She hadn’t arrived yet, so I pulled out my mobile phone to check my email and pass the time. At 5:10, she still hadn’t arrived. Or at 5:15. Or 5:20.
At 5:25, I finally sent her a text, and she wrote back around 5:30: “I had an issue here across town and am in the middle of fixing it. I’m so sorry for not calling. We can meet later or reschedule. What do you want to do?”
I was initially really irritated, but as her subsequent texts started flowing in (“I’m so so so sorry. I promise to make it up to you!” & “Please don’t think I’m a bad person!”), I heard Bryan’s voice in my head: This is a chance to mentally reframe the situation. This is an opportunity to show grace.
And so I did. I showed lovingkindness and graciousness to this young woman who’d upset me, and when I pulled out of that Starbucks parking lot, instead of being filled with anger, I was filled with joy and peace. Instead of silently fuming at her thoughtlessness, I was able to speak love into the insecurities of this young model struggling to find her purpose and place in life. Instead of nursing a grudge, I got to learn anew that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.