The corners of my mouth drooped so low, they threatened to hook onto my collar bones. How could this be? It was mid-afternoon on Memorial Day, and we had worked hard on our latest remodeling project. We were urged to the finish line by the promise of a frozen custard blast thingy we saw advertised on TV at lunchtime. The last hour of our labor was spent in laughter and bliss as we discussed flavors available for purchase. We had a solid plan for reward. But when we went to our favorite drive-in treat shop, a voice from the speaker informed us that because of the customer volume and it was late in the day, their ice cream machine stopped working. Not possible. Not fair. Ice cream machines don’t stop working on hot summer holidays. This was an outrage.
The voice inside the speaker apologized and offered a soft drink instead. I shook my head. My husband declined the offer, and we left with me in a righteous state of pouting.
Sometimes when I’m hungry, uncomfortable and/or disappointed, I can become childlike in my outlook. What little wisdom I have accumulated over the past sixty-six years can just evaporate. It is then that the Wise One invades my heart and mind with words from others He has sent. In this case, the verbal gems were from a woman named Vision. And believe me, this woman’s name is more than appropriate for the valuable insights she has shared with me and with many.
In conversation with her earlier in the month, Vision spoke about a person who really gets under her skin. She admitted that in the past she’s had no problem letting him know exactly what he does to rile her. But on a recent encounter with him, she chose a new approach. My wise friend asked God to bless him and change her.
I thought about her words for a moment, then confessed that for the most part I would have asked God to change him and bless me. Still there was something in Vision’s prudent course of action that appealed to me. That something was found in further explanation. Vision said that her choice allowed her mind and heart to focus on God and call on Him to help change her thinking regarding control over anyone but herself.
As we drove home from the place with the mutinous ice cream machine, minus at least 800 unneeded calories, I decided to give Vision’s technique a try. “God, bless that young lady whose face I did not see but whose voice reflected exhaustion from a busy, hot holiday shift at work. And change me – whatever that means.”
Nothing happened on the spot. I was still hungry, hot and beyond disappointed at this turn of events in the face of my planned, and expected, reward. I decided to repeat my petition a few times.
On the fourth repetition, my anger lessening and I actually had compassion for the woman delivering this devastating news. I found it hard to be upset with someone while calling blessings upon them.
The “change me” part took a little longer. When my disappointment subsided and my focus shifted, I asked myself exactly how important the frozen custard blast thingy was anyway. Was this something I should allow to break the spirit of an otherwise good, productive and peaceful day? I also questioned my entitlement to things working out according to my plans
The words of my friend proved to be more than a mantra eliminating discomfort. Vision’s strategy showed me I have control over my attitudes and outlooks even if I’m in a funk. But control over other people, events and even machines? No. That is not available. Realizing this was my ticket back to good humor, peace and serenity. These three items on the spiritual list of options feel a lot better than any sweet treat on life’s menu.
With clearer thinking and less pouting, I saw the real problem at hand – hunger. With what was left of our energy, Keith and I got busy and put together Ma Padgett’s killer tacos. Just as peace and serenity provide healthy ways for my mind and soul to function, I suspect the tacos were the better choice to feed my little physical self.
Sometimes God uses circumstances, words from friends or just plain good sense to return me to healthy living. But this requires me to listen, be grateful for the wise words of others, let go of “my way” thinking and go to the ice cream place before they run out of treats.
Copyright June 2017
Laura L. Padgett
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or check out my first book, “Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers.
See my Publications tab on this website for books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.