“Whenever the telephone would ring, it was never good news.”

I’m riding in a cab listening as the driver tells me about why he immigrated to America. His words are energetic and rhythmic. His homeland may be on the other side of the globe, but the memories are always nearby.

“Never was the telephone call about a birth or a wedding,” he said. “No, always news about someone who had died. Your brother, sister, even grandmother. Whenever the telephone rang, it was bad news.”

Red digits continue to accumulate on the dashboard meter as he talks about why he loves being in America.

“I’m a glass is half-full guy,” he said. “I just don’t understand others. Why can’t they see if the glass is half-empty, you’ve still got half a glass, right?”

“America is like that,” he said. “The glass is always half-full — and opportunity is always around the corner.”

His words made me smile. Here is someone born a world away, one regularly torn apart in civil wars, yet continues to protect his optimism at all costs. From his perch, behind the steering wheel of a cab, he — and he alone — is in control of his life.

Sometimes, God just puts our lives in a crossing pattern with others for a purpose. The driver, I’m sure, is one of those examples.

As the car approaches the airport, the driver’s energy continues to fill the cab. He’s a happy man.

Turning around, he points his index finger upward.

“I believe that is how the big guy upstairs wants us to be,” he said.

I think of his homeland and the world he lived as a child. With death and destruction a regular visitor, one could easily become shaped toward seeing a half-empty glass. After all, why should tomorrow be any different from today? What makes tomorrow any different?

Well, as the driver knows, such a belief comes from inside. A feeling of being in control of your life and knowing you — and only you — can shape tomorrow. In many ways, having the courage to never let go of your tomorrows is one of our most valuable personal possessions.

The driver signals toward the curb, navigating between dozens of cabs each jockeying for position near the terminal.

“Yes, I believe my glass is half-full,” he says again.

The door opens beside me — and tomorrow awaits my arrival. How I enter the new day is up to me and me alone. No different from the driver, my hands are on the steering wheel of life. The decisions I make all originate from how I choose to see the glass God places before me. Do I see the tomorrow as just a predetermined continuance of today? Or can I shape tomorrow into one where opportunity for a better day is within reach?

I grab my bag and shake the driver’s hand. The number totaled on the meter is much less in value than the lesson he shared with me. Because of him, I’ll be doubling down on tomorrow.

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

President & Publisher of The Galveston County Daily News.

(1) comment

Diane Turski

I have also always believed that the glass is half-full, and as a result, I consider myself to be a confident and relatively happy person. I believe that everyone has had their ups and downs in life, and maintaining a mindset of optimism through activism during the down periods makes a difference in shaping your life path in a positive direction.

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