When faced with adversity and the inconveniences of life, we can choose between a “What if?” or “Why me?” approach. “What if?” speaks to possibilities and moves us forward. “Why me?” turns us in on ourselves and can paralyze us. While there will be moments in our lives – serious illness, loss of a love one – “Why me?” is a natural and understandable reaction.
In the category of a simple inconveniences, I had a limb from my 50+ year old maple tree fall on the power line at 2:00 am Thursday morning. While outside checking out what happened and talking with my neighbor who heard the crash, my cable box started on fire from the surge of electricity. She ran for the hose, I ran for the fire extinguisher – luckily I got to the fire first (Lesson 1, 2, 3: always use a fire extinguisher on an electrical fire; make sure you actually have a fire extinguisher; stock extra flashlights that you can find and that actually work). I put the fire out before it spread beyond the cable box. The fire department came a few minutes later along with the power company. (Lesson 4: firefighters are good looking, unfortunately I was not at 2:30 am).
I’ve spent most of the past two days on appointments to get things back in order – the electrician, the furnace guy, the cable guy… I will be spending the next week on appointments with the insurance adjuster, the tree company, the garage door guy, finding a new microwave and on and on. And as I think about the series of inconveniences from a limb falling off the tree, I am drawn back to the “What if”.
someone or one of the dogs was under the tree limb when it fell;
I wasn’t home when the cable box was on fire and it spread…
Suddenly the inconveniences are just that and really not that important. So as we sift through the inconveniences that pop up, choose the “what if” over the “why me.” Appreciate what’s really important – relationships, not stuff that can be replaced. And in the end, it’s really more about “how” we go through adversity rather than “why” and ulimately we learn and teach in the process.