Don’t sweat the small things

One small bird, but a small group of these can ruin an aircraft engine

Recently, my colleague and I were at a food tasting session that was going to be part of an article I would later write.
As the dishes were brought out, my colleague would photograph them before we ate them.
In an attempt to reduce the glare from the sun, and the reflection against the glass, she asked the restaurant owner to open the bay window.
The result was a perfect series of photographs, bur my colleague had also inadvertently invited an unwelcome visitor — a fly that soon announced its presence by buzzing around the place, especially near the food and myself.
My colleague and I had to resort to a variety of methods to shoo the insect away before we could be finally sure of good shots.
By the time we were able to eat the dishes, they were unfortunately cold.

It was while we were in our shenanigans to get rid of our winged intruder that an ‘aha moment’ suddenly dawned on me.
“Such a small creature has the power to disrupt an otherwise perfect photo opportunity.”
It reminded me of how we like to think that we can and are in control of our lives, only to have some event/s take place that confirm that we actually DON’T.

A family friend was once a successful stockbroker who easily took home tens of thousands of dollars a month managing other people’s money.
His wife and children had a good life — holidays in exotic places, children in good schools, and a great home in a swanky neighbourhood.
All that suddenly changed when he woke up one morning and realised he was slurring was he talked to his wife.
It was not long before a trip to the ER confirmed the worst. He had had a stroke, and he recovered, only to be left with a paralysed left arm, sloping gait and permanently slurred speech.
Life soon changed too. The nice home soon changed to an apartment in a smaller and less swanky neighbourhood as assets had to be sold to pay medical and rehabilitation bills.
Annual holidays changed to short trips to nearby towns.
Fortunately, the kids were good students and did well in university.
But it all began with a speech slur, and their life changed for good.

One bird by itself is seldom a threat, but take a group flying together and they can be a major threat to engines of big airplanes.
It is so surprising that in life, we are advised to guard against the big or major things that can change our lives, seemingly confident that changes always give us ample notice so that we can control our environments accordingly.
Events like what happened to my colleague and family friend highlighted how it is the seemingly small and unimportant events that derail us.
Heart attacks are not the result of one major strain on a carotid artery or vein. The damage occurs bit by bit but we deny it or to pay little attention.
The liver cirrhosis and kidney failure do not happen overnight.
Small sips of beer soon became longer sessions, then binge drinking and the years do their eventual damage.
We think it is cool to drink at 20, cooler still to drink at 30, not realising that the Devil waits patiently for his due.
Years that could be spent playing with grandchildren end up in hospital beds.

As I pondered my colleague’s plight with the fly, the still small voice spoke, saying “Don’t chase the big things and drop the small ones. One day, you’ll realise that the small things were the big things. The so-called big things were actually small change.”
If I cannot change the small things, I can at least learn to change my attitude towards them.
Train delayed? At least I can be grateful for a great transportation system, while people in other countries still had to walk miles to work.
Drenched in the rain? I can be grateful that I had alternative clothes to wear, unlike many other people who had far less.
Boss chewed you out at work today? You can be grateful that you still have a job and a second chance to make matters right, unlike millions of unemployed men and women worldwide.
Feeling down because nobody asked about you? You can be grateful that family always cares. And sometimes good friends are not unkind, just hard to find.

Gratitude makes the difference. It makes us realise our loss of control and points us towards the things that really matter.
From the face that frowns and whines to tears that glisten and eyes that shine.
Joy Lovelet Crawford’s poem came to mind:
“ Today on a bus, I saw a lovely girl with silken hair
I envied her, she seemed so gay, and I wished I was so fair
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the isle
O God, forgive me when I whine
I have two legs, the world is mine

And then I stopped to buy some sweets
The lad who sold them had such charm
I talked with him, he seemed so calm, and if I were late it would do no harm,
And as I left he said to me “I thank you, you have been so kind”
It’s nice to talk with folks like you. You see, I’m blind
O God forgive me when I whine
I have two eyes, the world is mine

Later walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue
He stood and watched the others play; it seemed he knew not what to do
I stopped a moment, then I said, why don’t you join the others dear”
He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear
O God forgive me when I whine
I have two ears, the world is mine

With legs to take me where I’ll go
With eyes to see the sunsets glow
With ears to ear what I would know
O God forgive me when I whine
I’m blessed, indeed, the world is mine”

I now know that I am really blessed. What about you?

Loves storytelling in all its forms, from books to movies to videos and all else. Life is a story and I want to fill each chapter with life or lives well lived

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