I had a very rocky start to my Tuesday morning. Keep in mind, I am a morning person. I jump out of bed no matter how early it is and greet my dogs (I even named one of my dogs Buttercup just so I could say “What’s up Buttercup?” every morning- that’s how happy I am in the morning). Buttercup and Buddy are not morning pups. They do a little downward dog and then hop in bed with my daughter to resume their tight 12 hours of sleep. Undeterred by their laziness, I turn on some music and I work out. I like my time in the morning working out, reflecting, and generally just getting ready for the day. On Tuesday morning however, I had a flat tire on my road bike. Fortunately, I was riding indoors so I wasn’t stranded in the rain in the dark. Regardless, I had to change my tire. I hate changing tires. I can never get the rear wheel seated on the derailleur correctly. I have very unhealthy thoughts when I am changing a tire. Picture a Laurel and Hardy movie- I knocked over the stand. When I picked that up, I knocked over my fan and then stumbled into the bike which hit the windowsill and tipped over my water bottle. This caused me to jerk forward just in time for the bike frame to land on my foot. It was a fiasco. Colorful expressions of extreme frustration were verbalized (and I am not proud of that). If someone had recorded me, it would have gone viral because it was hilarious but in that completely cringe-worthy way that mesmerizes people and causes them to send a link to everyone on their contact list. By the time I was done, I had chain grease half way up both forearms which I had to scrub off with that horrible (but completely effective) orange soap my husband keeps in the garage. It was too late to ride. I was frustrated. I was missing a layer of skin on my hands and forearms (orange soap is effective because it removes your skin).
As I was leaving the house, I noticed a message from a man I had not heard from in years. I had been his science teacher in high school a couple of decades ago. He was one of my favorite students – one of these innately positive people who lived his convictions in a way that drew people to him. As soon as I started reading his note, the black cloud that was hanging over my head drizzling on my bad attitude evaporated. He caught me up on all of the great things that had happened in his life since high school. He shared some of the challenges but in the way someone does who gets that life has its ups and downs and who chooses to embrace the ups. I felt so happy for him and the family he was building. I had to shake my head. Here I was about to let the drama of an inconsequential flat tire ruin my day. I could have easily missed his note absorbed in my manufactured crisis. That would be tragic because it is a rare and wonderful thing to hear from a former student or an old friend.
It has been my experience that there is a lesson in just about everything that happens in this life. Sometimes we are too busy thinking of our next response to hear it. Sometimes we are too preoccupied with the flat tire and grease covered hands to see it. Sometimes we are too absorbed in our current crisis to feel it. Sometimes we are just oblivious. But there is always a lesson. This note was a great lesson. It reminded me that I need to get some perspective. I need to step back, slow down, and look up. I need to remember that the important things in life aren’t things at all. Missing one moment of that would be the real tragedy. Inner tubes are ten bucks. People and the relationships we have with them are priceless. Thanks for the lesson and thanks for giving me some perspective.
I chose this photograph for this post because this eagle expression reminded me of my mood on Tuesday morning.
Get Some Perspective
(1/1000 sec., f/6.3, 560 ISO, 600 mm)