“Why did I do that?”
“What was I thinking?”
“How in the world did this happen to me?”
I would like to say these questions have only occurred one or two times in my life, but honestly, I have encountered moments like this more times than I care to remember. Each time I find myself in this predicament, I usually underestimate the lesson that occurs once I have paused to reflect.
I am learning each day that there are no wasted moments in life. The moment may be described as a bad decision, an unexpected hurt, an unfortunate consequence, a delayed yes, or an untimely no, but we must not view the moment as a waste.
Last year, I was invited to attend a literacy event at a school several miles (an understatement) from my home. The person who issued the invitation made several promises to me concerning my presence at her event. I graciously accepted the invitation and was prepared to provide her with the materials she requested. As I spoke to the parents and students who were seated in the library, I saw the host as she was trying to get my attention.
Imagine my shock as I watched her blow me a kiss and wave good-bye while I was discussing my children’s book with this attentive audience.
Some people may view this as a spilled milk experience—an unexpected waste. How was I supposed to handle this?
Photo by Daniela Díaz on Unsplash
Clean up and move on?
I decided to do as the Skipper the Penguin suggested to his companions in the movie Madagascar, “just smile and wave.”
Often times the moments that teach us the most are the moments that require self-reflection.
Believe me, as I drove home that night, I had more than enough time to reflect.
Was I disappointed?
Was the moment wasted?
Things in life will occur that seem to knock the wind out of us and leave us doubled over as we attempt to recompose ourselves. If the story ended there, we would have reason to cry, complain, and feel sorry for ourselves; however, there is more to the story than what we view presently.
There is a silver lining to every cloud—or good in every bad situation. It is up to us to find it.
“All the world’s a stage,” is a classic line from the Shakespearean play, As You Like It. This indicates that there is always someone watching to see how we act or react based on the people and circumstances that don’t quite cooperate with the way we viewed the “story of our lives.”
I didn’t realize the principal was watching everything that took place that night. As she escorted me out of the building, she thanked me continually for driving over two hours to participate in the event. I knew it was about the kids and didn’t want my disappointment to overshadow the purpose of the event.
Several months later, I received a call from the principal asking me to speak to another group of students. Without hesitation, I agreed and was tremendously blessed. Although I was chosen to provide a motivational speech, I was moved by the determination and the hard work of students being honored during the program.
At the end of the award ceremony, I was given a gift with the words “Make Each Day a Masterpiece” inscribed on the back. The gift sits on my desk as a reminder of the blank slate each new day provides. The artwork displayed on the canvas at the end of the day is ultimately up to me.
Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash
If my attitude had been any different the night of the first event, the door would not have opened for me to speak at the second event.
Find the message and refuse to cry about the mess.