Case in point.
|Evidence that something could be falling apart.|
To you, this may look like just some random little screw. But to me, it is the source of some stress. After multiple attempts of having mechanics fix my A.C. fan in my car (keep in mind that we are in the dog-days of summer now), I finally let the dealership give it a go. After paying 5 times the original estimate, the fan now blows. However, as I'm driving away from the dealership, I notice this little screw rolling around on my dash. Back and forth it rolled. I'm certain it wasn't there when I dropped my car off, and I'm equally certain that it was meant to hold something together. I mean, that's not rocket science or anything. I'm a little bugged. Not in an irritated way, but in more of a worrisome way. Like what if this little screw is actually the critical one thing that keeps my engine from falling out of my car when I'm driving down the highway? Admittedly, I know nothing about cars, but just what if? I know that's kind of dramatic, but oftentimes that's how I roll. And really, couldn't the mechanic have tossed the screw out if he didn't need it so I wouldn't wonder. And couldn't he have at least vacuumed out my car to thank me for my business? What ever happened to customer service? Seriously!! A few apples just fell off my cart.
A few days after the birth of my third child, Nana was going to watch the baby while my husband and I took our older two out for ice cream one evening. I was in that post-delivery-but-still-wearing-maternity-clothes stage. So yeah. Still, I was ready to get out of the house for a bit and happily walked into the living room ready to go. Here is what my husband said.
"Come on big mama."
I'm just going to let those four words hang there for a few seconds, (one. two. three. four. five. ), because that is what happened in real life. Big pause. Then "big mama" burst into tears and ran from the room as my husband looked at my mom in total confusion. Oops. Four little words. Happy to sad in roughly 2.2 seconds. Apple cart completely derailed.
I know. All of this is silly. But isn't that how we usually come undone? A silly thing or two is all it takes sometimes.
But....it got me thinking about how it takes only a few silly little things to sour a day, while it seems like it takes increasingly greater things to make a day that we consider to be awesome. Something is wrong with that picture.
Enter Mary. Born in 1922.
It was my day to mind the antique/vintage shope where I share a space with my mom and sister when Mary walked in.
"Can you tell me how old something is before it is an antique?" she asked me.
She told me she had a wooden bed with "real nice wood" and an old adding machine. She wanted to know what kind of price things like these would fetch. We talked a little about prices, and I told her that honestly we didn't have much of a market for those kinds of things at our shop--they just weren't big sellers.
"Well then what kind of things do you sell here?" she asked, a little defensive about her "things" not being marketable!
"Mary, you should take a walk around the store and look. I bet you have a lot of stuff like this--you might be surprised at what you can sell it for," I said.
For the next 30 minutes, she slowly wandered through the store. When she made her way back to the front of the store she was smiling and shaking her head in amazement at the old stuff people would pay good money for these days. We talked about her old aluminum measuring cup that her granddaughter thinks she needs to replace. We talked about her old costume jewelry. We talked about how her son wants her to get rid of stuff and how he wants her to move from her home to where he lives. But mostly, we talked about her flamingos.
When I asked her where she lived, she told me the street name and asked me if I knew the house with all the flamingos out front. We live in a small town, so of course I instantly knew the house. She proceeded to tell me about each one--where she had purchased them and how much she had paid for them. She told me that when water became so expensive, and then scarce, her yard had pretty much died. That is when she decided to add a flamingo or two. Then she added a few more!
But it was the last few sentences she spoke that blessed me way deep down in my spirit.
"Oh, I know some people think they're tacky, but those flamingos make me happy! At my age, that's what is important. To be content and happy". Her eyes just sort of disappeared into that round and wrinkled face when she smiled.
We said our goodbyes. I told her I hoped she'd come back in again soon. As I watched 90-year-old Mary slowly turn and make her way out our front door and down our crowded sidewalk full of "stuff", I had this thought.
If little things can so easily upset my apple cart, then shouldn't little things be able to knock the socks off my day in the most lovely ways, too? I mean, that seems fair, right? Maybe I'll try this. Maybe the next time some little thing bugs me, I'll stop right then and there and look for the tiniest little wonderful thing. When I find it, I'll just let it wash over me for a moment until I am just dripping with pleasure. And I'll thank Mary for the reminder.
A reminder that ninety years of living can be summed up in this--the greatest happiness comes from the tiniest of things. In Mary's case, those things just happen to be pink.