I waited in the car service center lobby. I shook my head and exhaled so many frustrated sighs that you'd think I was was an annoyed whale bobble head with a blow hole. I pumped one crossed leg over the other, which kept time with my smacking gum. I was chewing with my mouth closed but the noise was louder than it should've been. The other people waiting didn't seem inconvenienced and I envied them. They seemed almost relaxed while reading newspapers or scrolling through their phone. Must be nice to have a time to burn. One guy set up his MacBook and obviously resigned himself to undeniable truth he was going to be here awhile. I had more to do than waste a morning and I felt trapped by the misuse of time and angry at the thought of another expense. I wasn't getting anything accomplished by sitting in this place. I shook my head, clinched my jaw and bit down hard on my back molars. That's when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the waiting room's glass window. My balled up irritation deflated as I saw what other people had already seen. My slumped shoulders and frustrated mannerisms embarrassed me. After all, I was sitting in a car waiting room, not an emergency room. I mentally criticized myself. In my sudden stillness, I was regretful. My body relaxed when the tension slipped out of my tight frame. I dug in my purse for a tissue and spit out my gum. I improved my posture and then smiled at the people across the room. I changed my outlook.
My frustration remained but I didn't have to behave like a demanding toddler. Sure, it had been a crappy week financially but there were so many things in which to be grateful and when I mentally began to list them, my attitude moved from selfish into appreciation. Yes, I was in a car dealership waiting on the diagnosis of most likely a high repair bill - but we have a car. In the same week, we lost our 20 year old rusted furnace which decided to empty the last bit of its collected condensation onto the floor and flood part of our basement carpet - but we have a home. My husband has a successful career, which softened the set back of my cutback work hours. We still had income, even it it wasn't as much.
Crap happens. Life happens. Delays happen. How you react can make it seem like the worst thing ever or give you a chance to slow down and evaluate what's important. Someone once told me that if it can be fixed with money then it's not a problem. When you don't have any extra money, that seems impossible. But, how likely are you to take on the burden of financing, rather than the devastation of losing a loved one or seeing your child in a cancer ward? Financing seems not so bad, right? You can climb out of debt, but you can't bring back the life you miss.
Focusing on the good is not without struggle, but when you challenge your mind to concentrate on finding the positive - even when some weeks are harder then others - the negative seems to lose some of its power.
As I explored why I was unhappy in the first place, I realized that my emotions were ruling like a crazed monarchy and my mind was a reckless runaway train, screaming off the tracks and slamming into everything in it's way. Nothing was working together. I was angry at the inconvenience. I was frustrated at my dependency on the mechanic's expertise which made me feel trapped. I worried how to pay for one more expense when this week had already been such a killer. My problem had the makings of a messy trifecta. My thoughts were clouded with unproductive emotions along with a narcissistic brain that thinks it can solve everything if it thinks hard enough.
As soon as I stopped shoveling coal into the derailed mind train, I slowed my thoughts and embraced my life's beautiful scenery. My family is healthy. We are loved. We are fed. We are safe. I started thinking, which turned into believing; that every little thing is going to be alright.
"Your car's ready. You're all set."
"It is? What was wrong with it? How much?"
"Nothing. Your car's computer which monitors the emissions misfired and only needed resetting. No charge. You're good to go."
Kind of like my mind. It misfired and needed resetting. Things are looking up and there's always something to be thankful for.
Seeds to Share:
Jude 1:2 - May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.