I am convinced that one can choose one’s attitude.

A familiar story goes way back.  Many speakers and preachers draw upon this ancient parable to inspire their followers toward higher ground in thinking and attitude.  The tale goes like this:

There once was a traveler who came upon three bricklayers at work.  As he approached the first, the sojourner asked, “What are you doing?”

The laborer responded gruffly without looking up, “I’m laying bricks!”

Walking a bit further the curious traveler found another man at work, and asked him also, “What are you doing?”

The response came, a bit more congenial, “I’m building a wall.”

And finally, reaching a third bricklayer, the traveler asked him as well, “What are you doing?”

Putting down his trowel for a moment, glad for someone’s interest, the man said with a beatific smile, “I’m building a cathedral!”

All three bricklayers, working on the same project, were doing the same work—laying bricks.  But only one was focused on the bigger picture, the wonder of the cathedral to come, and for him, it made all the difference.

Let me repeat:  We choose our attitude.  We choose what we set our eyes upon.  Nothing can take that away from us.

As Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said about his time in the death camps:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – (Victor E Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning)

Let us exercise the power to choose our attitudes in the times we find ourselves in now.  The writer of Hebrews gives us our focus.  I have decided to write in my Bible above this verse a new heading:

“Antidote to a Tasteless Pandemic Life”

Hebrews 12: — Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.

May it be so, Lord Jesus, make it real in us.  Show us the joy set before us that we may keep our eyes lifted and fixed on You.   Thank you for the attitude renewal that will come. . !


Mary Heathman

Mary Heathman

Founding Director

Mary is one of the founders of Where Grace Abounds and served as Executive Director from its inception on July, 1986 through March 31st, 2007.  She speaks and teaches at churches and conferences across the country. She has also served on several boards of non-profit organizations, is a conference speaker on a variety of topics that include: Intimacy with God, Healthy Sexuality, and leadership development.  Currently serving in leadership in her denomination, Mary’s favorite ministry roles are discipleship counseling, group facilitation, and leadership development. Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motivation.  Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, independent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University. Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.

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