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Happiness: A State of Mind


Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~Abraham Lincoln
Today began with all the earmarks of a bad day.  I woke up 20 minutes before my mother’s 9 A.M. doctor’s appointment. I had a good hair day on a morning that it insisted on raining.  I stopped at the grocery store for five items: milk, cat food, grapes, bananas and lettuce; and after purchasing ten times that amount, I arrived home without two of the items that I intended to purchase.  So, I drive home uneventfully. I am about to get out of the car and it suddenly occurs to me, I am sitting in our driveway (in pain, but let’s not even go there!) with my Mom and groceries in tow, and the door key is IN THE HOUSE! Yes, I have managed to lock us out of the house. (The door key fell off the key ring and I’d forgotten to put it back on before we left.) Everyone with a key to the house was anywhere from 16-25 miles (one way) from our front door. We had absolutely no way of getting into the house short of driving through the front door and believe me, for a brief second, I considered it.  

Instead, I called my daughter who never answers her phone. She didn’t disappoint. I reluctantly called my poor, harried husband who works over 40 miles round-trip from our home and is quite busy at work. He was in his office and answered the phone. After beating around the bush and pointless pleasantries, I finally got around to why I was calling.  He, without the slightest aggravation or smugness, replied, “OK, no problem, I’ll just come home and let y’all in.”  I apologized profusely and he said, “It could happen to anyone.” Have I said that I love my husband? Well, I love my husband. After calling him, I put the phone down.

Where?  At that time, I couldn’t tell you.  And the rain came. There I am out in the rain, retracing my steps, looking high and low for the phone–no phone. Did I mention that it was raining even harder at this point?  I could not find the phone anywhere and in spite of my attempt to will the thing to ring, it didn’t.  Naturally, none of the myriad people who call me daily choose to call at that time.  As I learned from my days as a young girl waiting impatiently by the phone, it never rings when you want it to do so. Finally, I gave up and settled in the car, silently berating myself for being so dumb as to lock us out of the house, and for everything else that had gone wrong thus far.  Yes, I decided, this was indeed a bad day. 

My knight in shining armor arrived sooner than I’d expected and I resisted offering another round of apologies.  He opened the door with no hint of annoyance. I immediately ran into the house, grabbed the house phone, run-walked out the door and started dialing my mobile phone. I was certain that it was in the garage, but no ring-ring to be found. I’d already searched the car and knew it wasn’t there, but it had to be somewhere, so I said, “what the heck.” Now, remember, it is still raining outside. I dial the number. To my surprise and relief, I hear a muffled ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring.  The sound suggests that it is indeed in the car. I try to follow the ring before it stops. It stops. I dial again, same story. I repeat this four times and I still cannot find the phone. By this time, I am really aggravated and the lettuce is in the trunk wilting. 


I storm out of the car, press redial and stand there in the rain. The phone rings.  Ring-Ring, Ring-Ring, Ring-Ring. I am confused because I hear the ring loud and clear, it is no longer muffled.  My eyes follow the sound. They follow it right to my phone–sitting on the roof of the car, in the rain! It was right there all the time.  At that moment, I burst out laughing–at myself for leaving the phone sitting on the roof of the car where it was rained on, for misplacing the phone in the first place, for not seeing it the scores of times that I got in and out of the car, for locking us out of the house and causing my hubby to drive all the way home to let us in, for getting my Mom to her doctor’s appointment late, for all of it. 


I realized then and there that I could look at everything that happened today from two perspectives– one negative and one positive. Either way, I have the power to control whether I have a bad day or a good one.  I can chose to allow these mishaps to ruin the rest of my day or view them as the minor bumps that they are, and to be happy. I chose how I will respond to them. They, in and of themselves, do not dictate how I feel. I do.  Although I do believe that we can chose to be happy or sad, I cannot tell you what choice I will make in the future, not even tomorrow. All that I can say is that for the present moment, I chose “happy.”

Smiley FaceImage via Wikipedia



Blessings and happiness to you.


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