I tend to be an optimist, but sometimes I have a hard time seeing the silver lining right away. Thursday morning started as any other day. I got up and showered, fed the dogs, made my breakfast, packed my lunch for work, then went into the laundry room to check the dogs’ water bowl. I know many people walk through their mornings in a haze, but I literally walked into the haze during my morning. The room was filling with smoke. In less that a minute the smoke detectors started blaring and smoke started filling the house.
Skipping to the end of the story – everyone is fine and the house is intact. But a lot happened between the smoke and now.
Our boiler malfunctioned (another long story) and was burning a hole through the floor beneath it. If this had happened after we had left for work we wold likely have lost everything. I made it to work, although smelled like smoke) and Scott stayed home, assessed the damage, and went to work on the repairs.
At work I alternated between anxiety and gratitude that this happened while I was at home. Fast forward to Friday – no hot water and the house smells like a campfire. I decided I had a choice. I could either focus on how inconvenient it was to not be able to take a hot shower and how smokey my house smelled or I could close my eyes and imagine cooking marshmallows for s’mores over the campfire. I chose the latter.
Saturday – still no hot water. My natural optimism was returning and by Saturday afternoon I could finally wash dishes again. Wash dishes? I have never looked forward to washing dishes in my entire life. Perhaps that is optimism taken too far.
Looking at everything that happened from this vantage point revealed a few lessons.
- I really am an optimist. However, just because I am an optimist doesn’t mean I don’t feel unhappy or frustrated sometimes. Being an optimist just means that it is my default viewpoint. Both tapping and conscious choice restored my balance.
- Looking for the blessings in your life is important. Unless you look for them you might miss out. It would have been easy for me to focus on the inconveniences of the day but I know it would not have been a good thing for me or anyone else.
- I can tolerate more than I sometimes think I can. I don’t usually like surprises or anything that disrupts my daily routine. This event was a disruption but I actually bounced back rather quickly.
I hope I don’t have a fire again. I hope you don’t either. But if we do, think about marshmallows.