Years ago I read a book in which the author described his sunny grandmother like this: if her hair were on fire, she would lilt: “At least we have light to read by!”
Although outlandish in its extremity, the possibility of such a perspective (somewhat tempered) has stayed with me.
A simple choice of lens – orientation may edify or plunder a life.
To choose anger when the dishwasher breaks (it’s broken – the door fell off last week), or to be happy that I have plates to wash and food to dirty them. Why not gratitude?
To curse the early rising hour that the work week demands, or revel in a job that provides me with resources and community beyond most. Why not appreciation?
To lament my non-existent lawn, or celebrate the sustainable biodiversity in the weeds and critters that are home there. Why not acceptance?
To complain about messy family members, or take pause at the unbearable thought of losing them? Why not love?
To be annoyed at the slow-mover in front of me, or consider the unseen challenges they grapple with. Why not compassion?
To see goodness in me and be slower to find fault there, too. Why not kindness?
Life lets us choose how we assimilate challenges into our personhood.
A choice, a reaction, a response can
burden or lighten.
And if the light happens to be coming from your flaming hair
there’s always the wig
that is the best version of the hair you always wanted.
Maybe choose light.