A few weeks back I had the flu that’s been going around. I was so sick that I actually had to miss a meeting. For me, that’s one of the signs of the apocalypse. I remember driving the porcelain bus thinking, “What else could go wrong?”
I hadn’t completely recovered when a beloved member of my family passed away. Broken-hearted, we walked out of the door to go to the funeral home and the family dog got out. He ran toward the street, where a pitt bull came dashing toward him. “What else…” I tried to yell, but it came out sounding more like another four-letter word.
I ran gallantly toward the dogs to break up the inevitable fight. Unfortunately, in my haste I had gained enough momentum so that I couldn’t stop. I caught a heel on the side of the driveway, started spinning with all the grace of an NFL lineman performing the Nutcracker, and in slow motion found myself plummeting into a ditch. All the while a pair of amused dogs sat amiably side by side, watching.
With a cast on my broken hand I delivered the eulogy. Yes, you’d think this was a “what else” moment, but I already knew what else. I had a book due to my publisher in two days.
Thus, I sat, pecking at keys with my left hand and two fingers on the right poking out of my cast, reaching blazing speeds of up to ten words per minute. My voice recognition software refused to translate my southern English correctly, so I’d “what elsed” it right off my computer.
Then I realized I had a class to teach in the next week and it was on, of all things, “Attitude is Everything.” Very much like having Lizzie Borden teach an anger management course. I was ready to yell a great big obscene “what else” on that one, when the cat jumped on my computer and knocked half my equipment to the floor.
I sat on the floor near my wrecked equipment, ready to cry. Strangely enough I heard myself chuckle instead. Then, as my other cat came to inspect the damage and deposited a hairball for my inspection, I shook my head and laughed. And then, I heard the swoosh of letters dropping through the mail slot on my door. I looked and there was the bill for the x-rays of my hand.
I started laughing hysterically. My eyes leaked. My cats ran away. My mail carrier hurried off my porch. And I sat on the floor and guffawed until my ribs ached.
I grabbed my low-tech pen and paper and started to write my attitude class. Because now it all made sense.
Life is full of lumps. Some are small. Some are incredibly overwhelming. That will never change. The only thing that changes is my response to those lumps. I can sit and start linking them all together to create a depressing lumpy gravy that covers my life, or I can see them as they are – separate events that create a life truly lived. I can think that karma or the higher power is out to get me or I can realize that I am going through the same sorts of experiences that everyone has gone through since the beginning of time.
So my success in life is not wallowing in my “what elses”, but instead celebrating what else I can overcome to create a better me.
I’m ready for that attitude class now.