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Perhaps it would be wonderful if finding happiness would always be as easy as it sounds in this popular song by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh:

Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Life can be so sweet
On the sunny side of the street

Can’t you hear the pitter-pat
And that happy tune is your step
Life can be complete
On the sunny side of the street

Of course, it does help to think positively, turn loose of worries, and cultivate a taste for cheerfulness and the sweetness of life. As Mark Twain wrote:

“Most of the things I worried about never happened.”

But then there are times when we wake up and the sweetness has turned bitter on our tongues.

Psychologist Stanley H. Cath, M.D., writes about how to deal with the bitterness that can sometimes come with the aging process. But I think his words have some relevance for all ages—especially in times like these.

 “The problem for some can involve how you maintain your humanity in the face of bitterness…about yourself and your perceived failures, or your wish that the world were a better place for yourself and your children to live in. One compensation is to integrate and to broaden one’s perspective. A new vital connection can be made with grandchildren, for example, or in passing on one’s knowledge to the next generation. There are very few things you can do to defy the aging process. Keeping your hopes alive is definitely one of them.”

I find it encouraging that even the taste of bitterness can be accepted as part of life’s banquet. I like the idea that we can respond to the experience of bitterness in ways that helps us broaden our perspective, maintain and deepen our humanity, and stay vitally connected.

Maybe it takes both bitterness and sweetness for us to develop the sophisticated palate that lets us come to the place where, as the song says, “Life can be complete.”

The more the bitterness in the world, the more important it is to balance that by staying in touch with life’s sweetness.