Monday, October 19, 2015

Is the glass half full, or half empty?

Optimist or pessimist? Is the glass half full or half empty? Is that a light at the end of the tunnel or a train?

Last night, Pam went out into the garage to take her car to the grocery store to shop for our big trip to the Smoky Mountains this week. We have been looking forward to our little fall family reunion for months now, all of our kids...and their dogs, together for three days in a beautiful cabin in the hills outside of Gatlingburg, Tennessee. Only her car, our chosen vehicle for the trip, wouldn't start. Not only that, a couple of days ago some strange warning light on the dash lit up furiously to inform us that the Anti-Lock Brake system was not functioning properly. What the heck?? Her car hasn't given us any trouble in forever and suddenly three days before we're planning a 600 mile trip...THIS? What horrible timing!

Umm, actually it's fantastic timing. The timing could not possibly have been better. Can you imagine how panicked I would have been if the Anti-Lock Brake system warning light had flashed for the first time while I was navigating one of those hairpin turns in the Smoky Mountians? How horrible would it have been to wake up at 3000 feet of altitude with failing brakes? Or even worse, try discovering that your battery is dead on the first night of your vacation?? So, this morning my trusted mechanic will go over the car with a fine toothed comb before I leave for Tennessee. 

This is how life works sometimes. Things happen that at first glance seem poorly timed or unfair, but upon closer inspection prove to be beneficial. Whether the twists and turns of life are good or bad are largely dependent upon our attitude. Car trouble is just an example of a thing that happens, and is neither good nor bad. The older I get the more I find myself dividing things that happen into two categories...eternal or temporary....

TEMPORARY.                                                                                            ETERNAL.

Car trouble.                                                                                My wife
Shoulder surgery.                                                                        My kids
Stock market fluctuations.                                                          My family and friends
Bad weather.                                                                              Music
Finances.                                                                                    Faith 
Politics.                                                                                       Baseball
Politicians.
Electioneering.

If something falls into the temporary category, I try not to lose too much sleep over it, because in the grand scheme of things, there's not much I can do about it anyway. Stuff in the eternal category demands my attention, blood sweat and tears, because these are the things that matter. If something goes wrong there, my job is to move heaven and earth to make it better. Well, maybe not baseball...but I just can't put the most eternal of games in the temporary column, it just wouldn't look right!

So, I choose to see the glass as half full. I'm able to fix the car before we leave, saving me from plunging headlong over a cliff to certain death because of a break failure. 

Definitely half full!