A. Appreciate the rain. Other people have so much more or less of it than they need. Just appreciate yours.
B. Remember to use I-statements when expressing your discomfort with someone else.
- Example: “I feel angry because you ate all the pie, dude!”
- Example: “I feel happy because I scored three goals on that group of children, which means I win.”
- Example: “When you poke me in the side, I feel tickled.”
- And so on.
C. Consider the consequences of your actions.
- Like if you eat too many blueberries and spinach, it might give you the runs.
- Or if you get into the shower with your glasses on, they might get wet.
D. Re-use zip-lock bags.
E. There can never be too many raspberries or blueberries, despite what I said earlier.
F. Trust yourself.
My Mom would like me to lay claim to the outhouse. She thinks that I should call it the family outhouse. I disagree. When I stay with my parents, I say that I am staying at my parents’ house. And I maintain that the outhouse is also theirs.
On the wall of my parents’ outhouse is a poster with a quote on it that I am now struggling to remember. It’s something about “living into mystery…” which is funny for an outhouse, but reasonably wise, I think. Or catchy. Or something. So I decided to look for life and mystery quotes partially to explain to myself how I have ended up where I am currently sitting (not in the outhouse — don’t worry!) and partially to remind myself that not knowing everything is actually probably a gift. Maybe that’s my pessimist half talking, though, because I worry a little that knowing much, with any certainty, would be depressing.
Annie Dillard says “We wake, if ever at all, to mystery,” and C.S. Lewis says “Consciousness is either inexplicable illusion, or else revelation.” I want to assert that there are more options, but I like those two. Helen Keller is credited with “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” So I’m avoiding believing it’s just pessimism that allows me to give in to mystery or surprises or wandering.
We have to invest more than pessimism; we have to focus and diligently follow whatever mysterious force asserts itself in us.
And this is what I think, all thanks to the poster in the outhouse.
Sometimes people suck. (Sometimes, I especially suck because I am not always friendly or thoughtful, I get grumpy and rant about things for extended periods of time, I am easily frustrated and at times, extremely pessimistic).
But people have the capacity to be incredible.
I think we judge in relation to ourselves, but also that we take pleasure in stories of goodness in the world, even when it doesn’t relate to us.
Right now, I am thinking of people in my life who do incredible things — who are kind and gentle and generous in the world, who take time to visit their friends, time to give advice, and find patience when friends or even acquaintances are being ridiculous.
I have been the recent recipient of a fantastically humble and generous visitor, popcorn and a bed on a floor, advice about traveling in Greece and Berlin, and deep patience from a dear friend, who heard out all my various excessive frustrations. This does not even include the beautiful Thanksgiving dinners I attended last week or my wonderful and always helpful family.
Maybe it’s a little late for a Thanksgiving speech (especially given my Thanksgiving qualms), but I’m feeling so grateful and fortunate.
People, where did you come from and how are you so exceptional? Thank you for sharing it with me.
Dynamite to Inspire 100 Words of Flashy Fiction (Maybe)
Coming into the kitchen, I could see she had searched my room.
Bits of incriminating evidence were scattered over the surfaces, each item carefully placed on appropriately sized portions of paper towel, as if allowing these things to touch anything in her kitchen would spin the world into wacky space beyond normal, around-the-axis spinning.
I wanted to explain, but I couldn’t, so I let her point and catalog and glare.
“Garlic?” she asked. “Dynamite? A yo-yo?”
We gazed at each other.
“I defended you,” she said. Each word shattered on the floor. “You will give it back. Every. Thing.”
For more stories prompted by this image, visit Madison Woods and explore the rest of the Friday Fictioneers!