Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.
I'm tired of being a tragedy-oriented person. So I decided I was no longer going to always assume the worst. That said, a few weeks ago I was cutting pears for dessert. I heard the buzz of my husband Bob's chainsaw.
"He's cutting down a tree," I said to myself. "He's fine." I kept slicing.
"Fine, fine, fine, fine." I heard the tree fall. "I'm not checking on him." I took a little sliver out of my thumb. During this bloody episode, my "normal" self had a minute to slip in, accompanied by all of the sirens of the Goddess of Neurotica.
"A limb went through his heart," the sirens informed me.
I answered, "No. He's fine."
"He sawed into a killer bee hive and they've sucked out his eyes."
"No." I continued with the pears.
Okay. That did it. I looked out the front door but couldn't see Bob. And that was because he was lying on the ground … under the fallen tree … with a broken leg.
I ran to him and cradled his head in my arms as he tried to speak. He opened his tear-filled eyes, looked up at me while in agonizing pain and whispered, "Please don't write about this." I promised I wouldn't. When people are in shock, they forget everything so you can promise anything you want.
So now Bob's in a cast and can't do much. But that's OK, because I won't let him do anything that requires lifting heavy equipment, such as spoons. Judging from something he said last night, I think I'm really getting on his nerves.
He said, "You're really getting on my nerves," and hobbled off to the kitchen, where he got the can opener for the coffee. I grabbed it. "I'll do that."
He took it back. "I'm nearly helpless and you're making it worse."
I pried it from his hands. "It's good to share your feelings, Bob." I opened the can. "Getting rid of pent-up emotion is good for the colon, and aches and pains in general."
"Well, I do have one big pain … in the neck."
And so, we haven't been able to do things together like take long drives or go hiking. Last week, we went to an ice cream shop and shared a hot fudge sundae in the front seat of our car.
We giggled while having the delightfully forbidden ambrosia. Later, I e-mailed my pal Deb, and told her that we didn't do anything today because of Bob's broken leg. We just had ice cream. She replied, "I hope your ice cream was magic."
I told Bob about her message. He was on the couch, trying to scratch under the cast, but he couldn't. Then he was having a hard time, I could tell, asking me to do another favor for him that day. He wasn't even able to get his own Kleenex or play tug-of-war with our dog and her favorite stuffed hedgehog. And he was obviously so sick of this.
I sat by him and massaged his foot. "Hiking in the woods would have been a lot more magical than ice cream," he said.
But then, as I often do, I pretended to look down at this scene from above. I saw two cranky people cloistered inside, not enjoying the gorgeous autumn day. And then, a new scene slowly washed over. I saw a tender moment in time with me scratching Bob's leg as we sat quietly in our home. I saw the vibrant colors of the bittersweet, in full bud right outside our window. I saw a man with a broken leg that would surely improve with time. And I knew how lucky we were to be together, on this day that dreams are made of, when we joyously shared an ice cream.
If that's not magic, I don't know what is.
This story is from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive: 101 Inspirational Stories about Counting Your Blessings and Having a Positive Attitude © 2011 Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC. All rights reserved.