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I was watching a movie the other day and the main character–an athlete trained to “think positive”–said, “Well, bad days make the good ones better.” In some ways, of course, this is true. Shadow is what makes us recognize light. Sometimes without the contrast of bad we forget to be thankful for the good.Thursday night we returned from one of our little road trips, walked in to our home, and found it was sweltering hot! The motor of our central heat and air unit had burned out and we had to replace the unit. In the meantime, Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday morning were hot and long hours! Outside the temperature climbed to 107 degrees. I will say, though, today I am grateful for something I may have somewhat taken for granted just four days ago. The memory of no air conditioning makes me oh, so thankful for today’s cooled air.
I think, however, that this philosophy of “bad days make the good days better” may be a bit simplistic. I recently heard a story about a great spiritual leader saying to his followers, “Would you like to know my secret?” and then simply said: “I don’t mind”. I can’t begin to know for sure what he meant by that, but I believe he was trying to say that he stays even-keeled. He chooses not to mind when things are bad: maybe he, like I, repeats mantras such as “I am bigger than my problems” or “there are no accidents”–maybe he takes deep breaths and refuses to let the bad take over his mind and emotions. Maybe he knows that things we focus on become bigger and so he refuses to focus on bad happenings. I think, too, that maybe he chooses to “not mind” when things are good. Maybe he understands that moments of good are fleeting and so it is best not to plant one’s thoughts and emotions so deeply within those moments that it is a shock when the moment is over. Maybe he simply enjoys the good and the bad…stays in the moment…knowing that, with both good and bad, “this too shall pass.”
A few weeks ago I had a medical emergency with a few of my pet rabbits and suffered with them as I tried to keep them alive. As I was treating them I thought to myself, “Why do I have rabbits? There are such bad things that can happen to them!” and my mind flitted over every dead baby rabbit…every dog attack…every sickness…and every injury. As I was pondering this, I walked through my laundry room and my house rabbit hopped over to ask for a treat and a pet, my daughter handed me a two-week-old handful of bunny fluff, and an adorable six-week-old young rabbit peeked at me from around the corner. Yes, I could give up on this rabbit-raising hobby of mine and be finished with the rabbit sicknesses, injuries and deaths, but I’d also be finished with the bunny cuddles, warmth, sweetness and interaction.
The truth of the matter is this….life has good and life has bad….but categorizing each happening as “a bad thing” or as “a good thing” is simply a waste of time and energy. And, strangely, sometimes the “bad things” turn out to be good and vise versa. I think a better choice may be to just accept each new moment, breathe in deeply, and state clearly, “I don’t mind”.