A few weeks ago–when the Southeast was pounded with much more snow than it could imagine withstanding–I took 4 different planes to end up in Atlanta, Dallas, and Durham.
The very last of the four flights was the only one with any delay at all, and it had to do with a mechanical problem, not the weather.
Even so, I spent hours upon hours wringing my hands in squeaky airport chairs, checking and re-checking my smartphone’s travel app, calling and texting friends and family–“what does the weather look like there?” “what do you think the chances are?”
Of all the weather patterns that fell into place, granting me safe travel across the country twice, all the cancelled flights which didn’t affect my plans, and all the usually-expected air travel trip-ups that never happened, I lost sight of the great grace I was given because I was stuck in a cloud of worry and what-ifs.
On that one flight with the mechanical problem, it turned out that we needed to change planes; as we boarded our second craft, a middle-aged male in first class, conspicuously wearing a prayer-bead bracelet, complained to anyone who would listen about the inconvenient timing and general incompetence of the gate personnel.
I quickly realized the analogy–here I was, worrying and working myself up over all the travel problems that never materialized, spending my time focusing on what might possibly go wrong instead of noticing and being grateful for all the ways that the trip’s details fell into place. I was complaining, inwardly, over something that was really not that inconvenient at all.
Though there was one hiccup in the trip, by the time I’d reached my fourth flight in 72 hours, I had enough possession of myself to smile (you know, in the tough things). All our experiences offer us an opportunity to notice the things that go right or the things that go wrong–whatever we choose to focus on are the parts of the experience which are magnified; we have the choice to notice the grace and blessings that surround us, or to notice and magnify the negative in our lives.
What do you choose to see?