Yesterday while I was brushing my teeth, I heard a strange sound that stopped me for a moment. It was something like a nonchalant crash (if that makes any sense). My first thought was that one of the packing boxes filled with books had fallen over. Not quite the same sound. I mentally checked the drying rack in the kitchen. No, glass was not broken. I finished what I was doing and peeked out the window. What I saw was certainly not what I had expected. Right on the path to our front door was a VERY large tree branch. I scanned the canopy to find the tree from which it had detached. All trees in tact. Where did all this fallen foliage come from? Finally I realized it was not a tree branch at all but the WHOLE DARN TREE. Bizarre.
I finished getting ready when realized that I was running late for work and still had the tree to face. I climbed over my patio wall, tromped through some small bushes and walked alllllll the way around to the other side of the building where my car was parked. Luckily this was only a mild inconvenience and I made it to work with seconds to spare.
Today, as I woke to a rather bland and less eventful morning, I reflected on yesterday’s excitement. The obstacle I had encountered, however small it was, still required me to modify my routine. Because of its peculiarity, I did not distress. More so I was entertained with my new story to tell. Do I react this way to all obstacles that disrupt my day? Mmm…not so much. In fact, often times the “trees” in my way can leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, an aggravation, and a life’s-not-fair feeling.
Why is it that I can be so unaffected by one event and not another? I believe that I really do hand-pick my battles. I can easily brush off a broken window but pine over a broken cell phone for days. Is one more inconvenient than the other? No, not really. I am really only inconvenienced by that which I allow to inconvenience me.
Yesterday is was a tree, tomorrow it could be a car accident leaving me stuck in traffic for hours. Will I huff and puff and sneak out a few swears? Or will I be happy that my car and my body are in tact, still free to make it a fabulous day, and tomorrow too, hopefully.
The reality is that we can never tell when a tree will fall. And the irony is that it never falls on purpose. No cosmic ruler is at play or against us. No blast from the heavens struck down that tree in order to ruin everybody’s day. Or maybe it did. No one really knows. Either way, it’s important to avoid the “why is this happening to me” attitude about things. Things just happen…and sometimes, well, sometimes they happen to us.
The beauty of life is that we can take our encounters, however inconvenient they may seem, and turn them into a lesson of love. We are given a choice in every situation, the choice to make the best of things and eventually smile, or to cry and grumble about it. It’s always okay to cry, but never for too long. I will be the first to admit that often times optimism isn’t the easy route, but wasting time grumbling is the true misfortune, and in the end, whichever you choose won’t change a darn thing. You can’t put the tree back in the ground once it’s fallen…but you can have a wicked cool bonfire with the remains!
So next time a tree falls on your path, I invite you all to set the troubles ablaze and watch the woes leave like smoke in the breeze.