Have you ever had a day in which everything was terrible? Haven’t we all? We were late for work, nothing went right all day, we return home to find some unexpected bills in the day’s mail, the school called about a problem with our child, and now the washer is leaking. It happens to all of us. I don’t know about you, but days like this make me want to pack up and leave civilization. Being a hermit sounds really inviting. Escaping the rat race and our ever more complicated world seems to be the answer to the problem.
In my little fantasy world, I would wake up with the sun, putter around my sparsely furnished cottage, pick a few vegetable from the garden, some berries from the surrounding forest, and spend the rest of the day enjoying creation. There would be no ringing phones, incoming emails, or failing appliances. Of course, there also wouldn’t be any appliances because there wouldn’t be electricity. That means instead of “enjoying creation”, I would be beating my laundry against a rock down at the nearest stream. I would be exhausted in the summer because I can’t sleep without air conditioning and I would freeze in the winter unless I spent months collecting firewood. (not that I don’t do that now) I would also be carrying water from that stream and praying that it was safe to drink. Those veggies from the garden would stop growing in the fall and if I hadn’t spend hours preserving them prior to that, I would be pretty hungry the rest of the year.
Ok, maybe ditching civilization isn’t a great idea. Let’s put things in perspective:
Even though I was late to work, I had a job to go to. My supervisor was understanding because it happens very rarely. The things that went wrong there were my responsibility to fix. Let’s call that job security. They were all opportunities to prove to my employer that I am a competent employee.
Those bills that show up unexpectedly? We may not be able to pay all of them completely, but we are capable of making payments and paying them off quickly. They were also evidence that we have businesses and service providers that make our life easier. I don’t have the skills or experience to repair my car or treat my child’s ear infection. Thankfully, I do have a mechanic and a family doctor.
The teacher that called about my child? She is genuinely concerned about my child. She didn’t call to cause a problem or to upset me, she called because she saw a problem that needed my attention. Her job is to make my child more knowledgeable and to prepare her for life as an adult. That is my job too. This teacher is not my enemy, she is my partner.
That leaking washer? Well, it has saved me from years of beating my laundry against a rock in the nearest stream. Also, as stated before, I have a service technician who is capable of repairing my washer. Yes, I will have to pay him, but I also have a job and job security.
It sounds as though gratitude is the cure for “everything is terrible”. I am grateful for meaningful work, capable mechanics, physicians, and service technicians, caring teachers, and modern appliances, air conditioning, heat and running water. Although, a few days away from civilization does sound pretty good too.