My husband did warn us that we would get soaked and that a storm was forecast for 9pm, but the kids and I were dying for an ice cream. So we set off into town on foot.
Ice creams in hand, we emerged from the ice-cream parlour just as the skies opened. The kids ran off down the road while my husband and I took shelter from the storm on the entrance steps of a house.
Huddled up together we watched the downpour, the drenched tourists running here and there (carrying their flip-flops) and babies opening their mouths to catch a few drops of rain!
Instead of grumbling and saying “I told you so”, we just enjoyed this moment of togetherness. No one blamed anyone else. No one needed to defend themselves.
When I look back on it, I feel that it was one of those magic moments when the weather just doesn’t matter. It was raining. Full stop. We just accepted it instead of fighting it.
When was the last time that you fought against something that was happening instead of accepting it and enjoying the moment?
One day someone came up to the great philosopher and said to him:
“Do you know what I just found out about your friend?”
– “Just a minute,” replied Socrates. “Before you tell me, I’d like to set you a test. The three sieves’ test. Before you tell me all sorts about other people, it’s a good idea to take the time to filter what you want to say. That’s what I call the three sieves’ test. The first sieve is truth. Have you checked that what you want to tell me is true?”
– “No, I’ve only just heard about it…”
– “Right, so you don’t know whether it’s true. Let’s try the second sieve, kindness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend something good?”
– “Oh no! Quite the opposite.”
– “So,” continued Socrates, “you want to tell me bad things about him and you’re not even sure that they are true. There’s one sieve left, usefulness.
– Is what you want to tell me about my friend of any use?”
– “No, not really.”
“So,” said Socrates in conclusion, “if what you want to tell me is neither true, good nor useful, why do you want to tell me?”
What about you? Do you use Socrates’ three sieves?
This summer we explored the province of Quebec from top to bottom. After two weeks, I commented to the others that the weather had always been good whenever we had done anything outdoors. My husband added that we hadn’t got stuck in any traffic jams either. My son then remarked that we’d never had to queue … And so on and so on.
As if by magic, everything had gone smoothly and been completely trouble-free.
We might not even have noticed these many tiny blessings but for the American saying “Count your blessings” which we followed religiously. And thanks to that our holiday was in another league altogether. We turned an ordinary trip into something fantastic where everything magically came together.
What about you? Have you ever counted your blessings and transformed an ordinary experience into something magic?
My grandmother’s apron was a bit like Mary Poppins’ bag. You could find clothes pegs, tomatoes from the garden, dead leaves picked out of plant pots and all sorts of other things in it.
It was like a Swiss army knife for housekeeping. It was used to dry hands, wipe tables and children’s tears.
Every morning without fail, my grandmother used to tie it round her waist and would only take it off to go into town. It protected her clothes but it did so much more than that.
The apron wasn’t very hygienic and it definitely wasn’t CE certified, but it had its own incomparable smell of earth, soap and cooking that reminded me of the old days.
Whenever I walk to the shops instead of taking the car, or go to the local grocers’ instead of the supermarket, it reminds me of the old days too.
My grandma’s MacGyver apron and walking into the shops are journeys back into the past when I connect with the real me.
What about you? What simple thing would you like to bring back?
When my husband and I go rock climbing together, we always initially look at how steep the route is – generally too hard for my liking – and he quite often says: Darling, you’re perfectly capable of getting up that.
When I’m hanging off the rock face about to give up, his words come back to me and I think “my husband said I could do it!!!.” So I gather all my confidence and talk myself into completing that tricky move.
Having someone who believes in us is crucial. A grandmother who gives us unconditional support or even a friend or an older brother. It doesn’t matter who. I’m lucky enough that it’s my husband.
What about you? Who believes in you and will help you achieve all your end-of-year goals?