Bad things gonna happen; enjoy the ride

I’m reminded of the time my son bought a carton of my favorite ice cream from a local maker in another city, packed it in his suitcase, put the suitcase in the luggage compartment of a Megabus, and climbed aboard for the six-hour ride home. It was early spring, and we were to meet him at the bus depot and head out on a week-long road trip.

When we picked him up, he forgot about the ice cream. The suitcase went into the trunk of the car, and we hit the road.

Things did not end well for the ice cream.

And did I mention the suitcase was cloth?

It’s the thought that counts, and the damage was fairly well contained. We made use of the hotel laundry facilities that night, and the suitcase is still in use.

What’s more, we have a family memory that’s irreplaceable.

I’m reminded of this by a poem I just read by Ellen Bass, whose name I didn’t even know until I read the following on Twitter. Take a minute to enjoy it.

Bad things are going to happen. Relax. Enjoy.

What a great message to take into a new year. It also relates to this New York Times article about the benefits of being as forgiving and compassionate toward yourself as you would be toward others.

We can’t control everything, and everyone makes mistakes. Bad things will happen to the best and smartest among us. We can either try to find a silver lining and move on, or dwell on the negative and make ourselves and those around us unhappy. It turns out that those who don’t demand perfection from themselves are more resilient, better able to accept constructive criticism, admit and learn from their mistakes, and empathize with others.

I once took something out of my oven and then grabbed the oven shelf bare-handed to push it back into place. It was a stupid error, born from distraction. I was practically screaming with pain seconds later. I learned to pay better attention and was introduced to the most amazing burn ointment on the planet, a Japanese concoction that contains… I don’t know what; the packaging is in Japanese. That ointment has spared my family a lot of throbbing pain over the years, and I wouldn’t have it if I hadn’t burned myself on the oven that one time, because I happened to be on the phone with a friend who is Japanese and who drove straight to my house to give me the miracle cure.

There’s almost always a silver lining. Relax. Breathe. Enjoy.

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