Thursday, October 16, 2008

With Eyes Wide Open

Sometimes when you least expect it,
something good happens.

It could be something as simple as
someone holding the door open for you
as you enter the mall,
a stranger bending down to return
the dollar you dropped,
or your kids happily picking up the tab
for a late night pizza.
(Yeah- like that ever happens!)

But, you get the idea... :)

Yet, I think our lives are so overcrowded with
the negative things
that we sometimes fail
to see the positive forces
all around us.

The small gestures of kindness,
comforting words of support,
and the simplicity of a smile-
those seemingly insignificant fragments
weave themselves together in our hearts
to make happiness.

But, we must always be aware
that there are two sides of the coin-
that there are people out there
whose happiness depends on you.

You must give in return.

It reminds me of the potholders
we used to make
with our Christmas crafts.
A grid of rows that
alternate up and down,
left and right,
over and under-
until it is knit into
a perfect square.

Your efforts toward others-
and in turn- their efforts toward you-
combine to make
the recipe for contentment.

How many of you were having a bad day
until someone told you how refreshed you looked?
Or gave you an unexpected discount?
Or let you get in line ahead of them?
Or made you laugh when you
really wanted to cry?

Our lives can also be enriched
by observing things around us-
or by allowing good things
to manifest themselves in our lives.
Some things may seem trivial,
but they touch our hearts
in big ways.

I can be depressed in the morning,
but seeing a blue bird outside
can cheer me up.
Watching the leaves fall
can make me appreciate the
changing seasons.
A phone call from my sister
can make a dark day
suddenly bright.

And even things that bug you sometimes
can be transformed if you change
your perspective a little.

I used to hate my husbands snoring-
especially when I would wake at night
and try to go back to sleep.
I would poke and prod
and try to roll him over in an attempt
to stop the blows and grunts and nasal noise.

How could his snoring ever be positive?
This may sound hokey,
but I decided I would approach
the problem with a new outlook.
I made up my mind to see
the good in it.

Now, listening to my husband snore
brings gladness to my heart
because I know he is beside me
and he is alive.
And -usually-
that simple, comforting certainty
can help me roll over
and fall quickly back to sleep.

Another example of finding goodness
when you least expect it-
is the day I was shopping
at my local Goodwill store
for a costume.
When approaching the counter
to pay for a $3 vest,
the lady explained that
if I bought two more items,
I could get them all
for a dollar.
So, to save myself some money,
I made a quick dash through
the outdated dresses,
8-track tapes,
toasters and choppers
and crock pots and lamps.
I decided to grab a little book
for the grandkids-
and then haphazardly picked
a book for myself.

I rarely read.
But that evening, I curled up
with a cup of coffee
and took a look at my impulsive buy.

Candles on Bay Street, by K. C. McKinnon.
I opened the book and couldn't put it down.
I read half that night
and finished it the following day.

I cried.
But I felt somehow cleansed-
changed - emotionally drawn into the book.
And I found myself wishing I had written it.

But- my story today is just to say this-
There are things out there
that will make you happy.
You just have to seek them out,
welcome them in,
and concentrate on their wonder.

I am so glad that little book
isn't still sitting in a pile at Goodwill,
gathering dust
and being silent.

And I am so thankful - (whoever you are) -
that you called me today,
or smiled at me,
or made something good happen.

Just when I least expected it.