Today was the first Friday (my day off) that the kids are back in school so I was really looking forward to this day. I would have some alone time - something that I treasure and that is so very rare when one is a single parent of three children while at the same time working full + time in a church. I couldn't wait for this day. I had scheduled a massage, planned a walk with a good friend, planned an afternoon nap and was going to then take the new kittens for their first vet appointment. But when I got in the car to go for my massage, the car wouldn't start. So....here are two ways to tell this story - both are true, but again, the way the story is told makes all the difference.
Version One: I really needed this day of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Things have been hard and I desperately needed a day to not work so hard. I needed some alone time. I needed to write my sermon for Sunday. In addition, my bank account has been very stressed this month between paying for the kids' lessons for the fall, all the equipment, vet bills, etc. that go along with three new kittens, school supplies, vacation bills due, expensive house repairs, etc. I really could not afford to have the car fixed on top of everything else. I just don't have the money. So instead of spending the day resting, paying bills, getting the house cleaned, RESTING, working on my sermon, being good to me, I spent most of the day dealing with the car, and was rewarded for that with another bill. A parishioner came over to do a repair I needed doing, but that too is another expense. And in the midst of dealing with the car, I also left my wallet at home. Since I had never been to this car place before, that was thoroughly embarrassing as I knew they would know nothing about my character or that I wasn't out to rob them.
Again, all of that is true. But here is version two of the same events:
I wanted to leave early for my massage because it is in a place I had never been before. It turned out this was an amazingly good thing, because when the car then wouldn't start, I had time to call my very good friend who just happened to be available and who is so very generous with her time and resources, who then drove out to my house, gave me her car for the day and walked herself home. Of all the times for the car to break down, this one was by far the best, being my day off and so I had the day to rearrange and didn't have to be at meetings or taking kids to school (not my carpool day). Also, as a result of my friend's amazing availability and generosity, I was not even late for the massage. It was wonderful! I then drove the car to my friend's house and she joined me in walking back home. So despite the car situation, I still was able to have both my massage and my walk with my friend. When I got home another friend was busy replacing closet doors in my house - a very needed repair, which he is willing to do on my schedule, despite the fact that he's had some medical things going on this week! I called AAA, and they sent someone out to tow the car right away. Once again, I was blessed by a person who got the battery going and recommended a local place to have the battery replaced for much cheaper than the dealer would have done. I drove the car out and the place (Sylvester's in Berea) fixed it immediately. It only cost $135 for both the battery and the installation, and the people there were really kind. I had forgotten my wallet at home, having taken it out of my purse in order to find my AAA card when I went to call them. But my amazing friend who had lent me her car earlier in the day was also willing to drive out to my house, pick up my wallet and bring it to me at the car place!! I got home then in time to take the kittens to the vet. And while alone time did not happen, I usually end up mildly depressed when I spend too much time alone anyway. Amazing. Not the day I expected, but a day filled with the blessings of nice people, helpful people, good friends, a massage, a walk, kittens, kittens, kittens, new closet doors, the smell of lavender (from the massage), and the day is not even finished yet!
Re-framing. Telling the story differently. Looking for good, looking for GOD in every moment. We can choose to do that. And I am working hard to do that more. It is more than just seeing the glass half full. It is envisioning the possibilities for the empty space in the glass.
For me, the possibilities in the glass are not so much "vodka" but more along the line of soda or sparkly water, but you get the idea. It is not just seeing that something is "half". It is seeing the joy in making it whole, the opportunities and possibilities present in a space that is not yet committed to anything else, the grace in being invited into a creative process of seeing where and what we can do with where we are and what we are given today, each day. That is my goal for this day. That is my hope for each day of my life. That is a calling we have - to live in gratitude rather than in the darkness of despair.