Ever overextend yourself?
The other Saturday morning I dragged my tired self to the hairdressers, then to Kensington Market to shop for food, then to a chorus practice, and then I drove from the west of Toronto to the southeast to meet up with some friends to commemorate the five-year passing of a beautiful man.
Breakfast had been scanty, and I grabbed some cereal with rice milk for lunch, sitting in my car in the parking lot outside a supermarket. Luxury living this was not! And I don’t do well on inadequate food.
But, I arrived in The Beaches, parked my car on a residential street, and made my way to the appointed cafe, looking forward to see some friendly smiling faces.
When I walked in, the place was empty. No one was there.
A couple of texts later, I found out I had written the event into my calendar two weeks too early. Aaarrgh!
“When something disagreeable happens, accept it with grace, and know that it eventually leads to great joy.”
Choosing to laugh at myself rather than berate myself, I walked back out into the sunshine. I could see the sparkling water of Lake Ontario at the bottom of the street, and despite my fatigue I couldn’t help but follow my feet to take a closer look.
I sat for a while on a park bench and watched the people and dogs parading by on the boardwalk. On the beach a Daddy was introducing his young son to the joys of kite flying. The sights and sounds of the water, and people and pooches enjoying themselves, soothed my frayed soul.
I walked east on the boardwalk and then randomly chose a street to walk back north to get closer to where I’d parked my car.
As I passed the lovely homes I found myself musing on a Buddhist teaching I memorised in the 1980s, which says: “When something disagreeable happens, accept it with grace, and know that it eventually leads to great joy.” And I decided that there was something good for me in this whole experience, I just didn’t yet know what it was.
The very next moment I came across a large brown cardboard box placed by the sidewalk on a front lawn. It’s common practice in Toronto for folks to leave items they no longer want in front of their house so they can be discovered by their new owner. So I looked inside.
I found a set of four large, beautiful drinking glasses, each one neatly wrapped in brown paper. Now it just so happens that I needed glasses of exactly that size. The box was too bulky to carry, so I carefully placed two wrapped glasses in each long-fingered hand, and got them safely to my car.
I’m thrilled with my new glasses! Every time I open the cupboard and see them, and every time I drink from one, I’m reminded of a warm, sunny afternoon in The Beaches, when I decided to appreciate adversity for its hidden gift.
After all, the old saying that when life hands you a lemon, make lemon juice, is good advice. But it’s even better when you have a beautiful glass to drink it from!