Want to live longer? Take the Chuck Cheeves approach

A A study reported by the Washington Post notes that the most optimistic people live 11-15% longer than those with a less optimistic outlook.

Eating healthy, staying physically active, refusing to smoke cigarettes, and learning how to manage stress in a healthy way help extend life expectancy. (https://www.denisonforum.org/daily-article/why-do-optimists-live-longer-trusting-god-when-its-hard-to-trust-god/).

Life is too short to see the cup half empty. Ask Chuck Cheeves, the self-proclaimed purveyor of positivity who brings a smile and encouragement to everyone he meets. Chuck, 62, a 60-year-old resident of Milledgeville, Georgia, who retired from Baldwin County government last November, experienced a life-changing moment ten years ago that dramatically reshaped its prospects.

“My friend Lester passed away suddenly in 2012 at the age of 53. His death had a profound impact on me and I did some soul-searching. I realized that life is short and I wanted to use the time that I have left to positively impact lives.

“I decided that from then on, no one would ever see anything negative on my Facebook page again. By posting inspirational quotes, encouraging stories and humor, I transformed this page into a daily destination for many people in need of a boost. I’ve grown from 50 followers to over 450. Love cheering.

Chuck’s theme is “life is good!” He carries a six-inch by 30-inch wooden sign bearing this slogan. As he travels through Milledgeville and Middle Georgia, he takes photos of people holding his sign and builds the person with his positive message. He estimates that he took over 800 photos promoting “Life Is Good!”

Chuck loves to ride around in his Chevy Trax nicknamed the “Sparkle Wagon”. Visiting places like Camak, Bradley, Social Circle, Warthen, Mitchell, Homerville, Barnesville, Plains, Andersonville, Tullulah Falls and other places with a rail connection, Chuck posts beautiful photos of businesses, homes, cemeteries and especially depots and everything related to trains.

His Christian faith also influences him. He loves Proverbs 3:5-6; “Trust the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in everything you do and He will show you which way to go” (NLT).

Chuck is grateful for his Christian home and for parents who lived Proverbs 22:6: “Lead your children in the straight path, and when they grow up they will not leave it” (NLT). Chuck is living proof of the truth of this verse.

“My parents set a great example by bringing us to church even when my brother and I didn’t want to go and by serving in various ways. My grandfather was also involved in First Baptist. I haven’t always stayed on the right track, but I’m on the right track now and I appreciate my church family so much. Camaraderie, camaraderie and positive reinforcement really help me.

Chuck’s nickname is “The Mayor of Pendale”, named after the small neighborhood in northern Milledgeville where Chuck lived for many years. A Milledgeville mayor stopped him one day at the courthouse and said, “I think more people think you’re the mayor than I do.”

What advice does Chuck share for those in need of a lift?

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Nobody cares. God forgives, so don’t stay in the past. The past is past and there is no future in it. Advance!”

For Chuck, life is good because:

*Even though he misses me daily, God still loves me.

* My church family loves me.

* I am blessed that my mother and father are still alive and I continue to make memories with them.

*My brother and his family are happy, healthy and prosperous.

* I have many people who love and care about me.

*I was able to retire at 62 and now live life to the fullest.

*I am healthy enough to enjoy every day and have a positive impact on people.

*I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I still have a teenager’s mind.

*I have everything I need to live a happy life, especially Jesus.

With such an optimistic outlook rooted in his faith, don’t be surprised if Chuck lives to be 115. Why is life good for you?

[David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Join them Sunday at 10 a.m. for worship and 11:10 for small group Bible study. Visit www.mcdonoughroad.org for more information and for online viewing options. To see more of Chancey’s writings, visit www.davidchancey.com and watch for his new book to be released this fall, “Marvelous Faith: Pursuing the Faith that Makes Jesus Marvel.”]

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