I don't go out of my way to read my horoscope but on Monday I happened across mine for that day. It promised me I would feel happier and luckier that day than I ever had before. I joked about that with Handsome Hippie Hubby. What would we do with all those lottery winnings? What could make me happier than holding my newborn babies or hearing the love of my life say, "I do?" And then we went on with our day.
It was a fairly average day. I did some writing. I went to work. We took the kids to the park, which was very nice, and then we decided to try out a restaurant some friends had recommended. Apparently the place is "super cheap with the best tacos in the universe." That's worth a try, for sure!
So it was that we buckled our children into the back seat of our tiny little Ford Escort and headed the 3 miles or so across town to get dinner. We were driving down the road at about 30 MPH. We had the green light so I never even tapped the brake. The woman driving 30 MPH on the cross street in a Ford F-150 never tapped hers either and we hit her - our bumper to her running board - at full speed.
The front end of our car literally folded in half. The second the car stopped moving I spun in my seat to look at the kids. They were both looking back at me with wide, startled eyes. I looked at my husband and there he was, safe and sound looking back at me. Fluids of every sort were running out of the car and we were in a busy intersection. "Get the kids out of the car. I'll call 911," he said.
We all climbed out and I headed toward the nearest business - a tow truck service, as it turned out. By the time I got to the parking lot a friend of mine was standing there! "Are you OK?" she asked. "I saw you get out of the car and thought you might need some help." She had just happened to be in the neighborhood at that moment. She took my kids to her car where they immediately climbed in and started playing with her two little cuties. I thought the truck had driven off, but she pointed it out to me, across the road in another parking lot. The other people were OK too (and their giant truck was a bit dented but in significantly better shape than our crumpled little shoebox!).
"We are all OK," I said. Then I looked back at my poor little car; now just a heap of scrap metal and broken glass. "I can't believe we all just got out and walked away from that. I've never felt so happy and lucky in my entire life."
My horoscope was right!
I have been thinking about that moment all week. The "happiest moment of my life" was not at all pleasant.
How many times do we hear (or say), "today was a great day!" And what we mean is that today was fun. It was a pleasant day. We visited loved ones or laughed hard with friends. We basked in the sun or raced downhill in the snow. We ate good food or made good love or napped without interruption. "It was a good day."
But what about the other days?
What about the days when you drag your exhausted butt to work only to be yelled at by demanding customers for 10 hours straight? What about the days when we are worried about where the money to pay this month's bills will come from? Or the days when our loved ones snip at us or our kids are throwing up or things just generally suck?
We call those "bad days," but.... are they?
Perhaps a change in vocabulary is called for. Difficult days, sad days, unpleasant days are not necessarily "bad." In those days we are taught our greatest lessons. We are allowed extraordinary opportunities to shine as a beacon of hope to our fellow man. We are blessed with the miracle that is the gift of love, given by friends and family who share those times with us.
I think that Americans, in particular, were sold a bill of goods, somewhere along the line, that told us, "You should always be happy. You deserve to have everything you want. You have a right to be 100% comfortable, 100% of the time." But the reality is that just isn't healthy. Have you ever known a person who gets everything they want 100% of the time? They tend to be selfish, greedy, unkind, unhappy, dissatisfied people that no one really likes to be around.
No one enjoys the flavor of their food as much as a person who is very hungry. No one revels in a great shower like a person who was truly dirty. No one finds blissful rest in a good night's sleep like a person who is truly exhausted.
Those things that bring pleasure are just not as much fun if we never have the chance to long for them.
Pleasant days would not be nearly as wonderful if we never have the chance to experience days that are tedious or painful or sad or exhausting.
Today is good because you are alive.
Perhaps it will be an enjoyable day for you. I hope so. It's Friday. It's the end of summer. It's a great day to have fun.
But if today is hard, if you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on tight. Times may be hard now but easier days will come. They will! I promise. And they will feel SO AWESOME after this battle is behind you. And you'll be able to look back and say, "That day was difficult, but it was good."
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!
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