A Pleasantly Unexpected Perspective

This week I was at an equipment rental place renting a couple carpet blowers.  The need for the carpet blowers involved a bathroom remodel, a piece of less-than-adequate piece of cardboard, and a cat.  That’s a story for another day.  Rest assured; everything ended well.

While I was at the rental shop the employee (James) took me in back to show me the carpet blowers they had.  They looked good to me, so I said, “I’ll take 2 of them”.  James proceeded to take clean off the carpet blowers and carry both of them to the checkout stand.  I asked if I could carry one of them for him, but he said he had them, so we proceeded to the front to check out. 

As we headed toward the front, there was a door we had to go through that was closed.  I told James, “Here, let me get the door for you.  I might as well make myself useful”.  To which James replied, “You’re a customer.  I consider that itself being useful.”

I was pleasantly shocked.  From that statement, it’s clear that James doesn’t see customers to his shop as a burden or an annoyance, but rather as the reason he’s in business in the first place.  His comment seemed so contrary to other places we’ve all visited where, as a customer, we feel like an interruption or an irritation to the employees.  Based on James comment, I can guarantee that his is the only shop I’ll ever go to in the future when I need an equipment rental.

May we all take a page from James’s playbook and be mindful of the importance of the customers we may serve.

Smile Because It Happened

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”  ~Dr. Seuss

I came across this quote last week and it’s such a great reminder about perspective and also about how to handle ending. Since endings are a part of every life, it feels that this quote from Dr. Seuss is applicable for all of us.

There are a number of things that come to an end:

  • A season of life
  • An event
  • A place we enjoy visiting
  • A business we enjoy frequenting
  • A friendship
  • A life

To be clear, some of the endings on this list are more impactful than others, and deserve tears as part of the healing process.  That said, I think that remembering the experience or the person lost with smile, and gratitude for the experience, helps us move forward in away that allows us to remain open to new people and experiences yet to come.  What a shame it would be to close ourselves off to trying new things or getting close to people because we are afraid of the tears that may come with loss.

Dr. Seuss’s quote also reminds me that I don’t have to wait until something is over to smile about it.  I can do so even while it’s happening.  😊

Saying Yes

As I was sitting down to write my weekly blog post, I got a text asking if I’d like to come over to someone’s house for dinner.  Initially, I thought about all the stuff that I wanted to get done that night, and that I should say, “No”. However, I then pondered just how important, really, were the things I’d be doing if I said, “No” to the invitation.  I replied to the text with, “I’ll be there!”

Sometimes when we get opportunities to do things, we think about reasons that would keep us from saying, “Yes”.  I’m going to challenge that line of thinking and start looking for reasons to accept.  This is just another reminder for me to be intentional with my choices versus defaulting to getting stuff done.

Sorry for the short post this week, but I’ve got a dinner engagement to get to!

Reminder To Enjoy It

On Wednesday, my wife informed me that the place we board our cats when we travel will be closing down.  This is a bummer for us, because we really enjoyed this place.  Whenever we dropped our cats off, we never worried about them because they received excellent care, and were always in great shape when we returned.  We will miss this place.

Again, I’m reminded of the importance of appreciating those things (and people) we enjoy while we have them, because so often things change, and they’re gone.

Be on the look out for those things you currently enjoy and look upon them with gratitude and thanksgiving, while you still have them.  And remember, while change can be sad or frustrating, it is also the vehicle by which exciting new things come into our lives.

A Quick Thought On Choice

There are plenty of things in life that we have no control over.  For example, the weather, the economy, genetics, and most every other person on the planet, just to name a few.  However, there are a number of variables in life that we do have control over.

Of those variables, the lever of control we have is choice.  We can choose our responses, our behavior, our outlook, the words we use, the course we chart for our life.

This knowledge should be a constant reminder to us to make wise choices.  The choices we make today impacts the quality of our tomorrows.

Introductions From Others

I’m currently listening to the audio book “Music is History” by Questlove.  One thing I’m really enjoying about this book so far is the introductions Questlove has indirectly given me to artists and songs I might not have encountered on my own.  I’m just a few chapters in, and already, I’ve been listening to a handful of new songs and “favorited” a couple of artists in Spotify.  I’m grateful he took the time to write this book and share some of his favorites with the rest of us.

Be on the lookout for these indirect introductions throughout your day.  They could be recommendations from friends, suggestions of things to do this weekend from the evening news, or suggestion on a website.  It’s a great way to experience something new, and maybe even discover a new favorite.

You’ll Find It

Here’s a quick reminder that we tend to find more of what we’re looking for. 

If we feel like the world is going crazy, we’ll notice things that reinforce that thought.  If we think all <insert people group> are jerks, we’ll notice evidence that supports that too.  We’ll find all the negativity we want, when we have our radar up for it.

Likewise, we’ll also notice the good in the world when our radar is looking for it.  When we’re looking for acts of kindness, generosity, and inspiring human behavior, we’ll find it. 

So what are you looking for?   

Think On These Things

It’s been a wild couple of weeks on the geo-political scene.  There have been so many horrific and heart-breaking images coming out of Ukraine and so much coverage of the events that it can feel overwhelming.  And while it’s good to be informed of what’s going on in the world, I don’t think it’s good for us to be over-saturated with information.   There needs to be some boundaries on how much information we’re consuming on a devastating topic.

It’s natural to want to know the latest with regard to a major world event, but I think it’s also important to make sure we’re allowing some positive content into our minds as well.  I like specifically like the encouragement we get from Philippians 4:8 where we’re told to think about things that are:

  • True
  • Noble
  • Right
  • Pure
  • Lovely
  • Admirable
  • Excellent
  • Praiseworthy

This is such a good and timely reminder to make sure that, in addition to news, we’re also filling our mind with content that will encourage and lift us up.  If all we’re consuming is the daily news, we’re going to be left feeling anxious, afraid, depressed, and exhausted, and who wants to go around feeling like that all day?

Be mindful in the days ahead (every day, actually) to fill your mind with encouraging and uplifting content that evokes inspiration, gratitude, and joy.  It’s out there, we just have to make sure we’re noticing.

I Don’t Have Time

On Wednesday afternoon, I heard from a friend that her husband’s surgery that we’ve been praying about went great, with “no surprises”.   I love that kind of news!  I was so grateful to hear it and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude to God.  As I was praying, and enjoying the moment, I was reminded that I don’t have time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got time to give God praise all day long, but in that moment, what struck me was that I don’t have time for things like:

  • Things that cause division between people
  • Holding grudges
  • Negativity
  • Judging others
  • Needless worry (which most worry is)
  • Spending time with consistently negative people
  • Harboring negative thoughts
  • Listening to the endless stream of outrage, hate, and anger
  • Consuming content that leads to any of the bullet points above

I’m so grateful to God, not just because of my friend’s good surgery report, but because of who He is and what He’s done for me. 

Out of that gratitude, I realize that I don’t have time to waste like that. 

Anticipation

It’s been a gray rainy winter in the Pacific Northwest where I live.  Long nights and gray days are pretty normal this time of year.  While I actually like the end of fall and beginning of winter, after the Christmas and New Year holidays are over, I’m ready for some sunnier days.  Fortunately, sunny days are also something that is not uncommon in the PNW either.

About every winter, we get these beautiful days where, while the weather is still cold, the sun is out and the sky is this clear brilliant blue.  Couple that with some frost in the morning, and you have a wonderful start to your day!  There’s something about a sunny break in the winter, no matter what the temperature is, that gets me excited for the day ahead, as well as the Spring season that is not too far away. 

I anticipate these sunny days every winter.  Days like that cause me to thank God and make me grateful to be alive.

So, what are you anticipating?  A change in the weather, an upcoming event?  I think it’s important to have something we’re looking forward to, no matter how big or small.   It gives us an excitement about the days ahead.  And personally, like my pastor says, I believe the best is yet to come!