This evening I met a friend at a local bar. She brought her laptop along so she could show me some of her latest digital art designs. As we chatted and scrolled through her artwork, the laptop suddenly started making an unhealthy buzzing noise, then the screen flickered on and off and then cut off completely. And as we both stared at one another in dismay, the funky smell of fried computer circuits consumed our nostrils.
I grabbed the laptop off the bar to inspect it and the problem instantly revealed itself. The bottom of the laptop was soaking wet and an empty, spilt water glass rested against the side of her purse just behind where the laptop was sitting. In the midst of us chatting and shifting the laptop’s 17 inch screen back and forth, we somehow spilt a glass of water that the bartender had inadvertently placed behind the screen, which was out of our view.
When life throws us nasty curveballs like this, it typically doesn’t make any sense to us, and our natural emotional reaction might be to get extremely upset and scream obscenities at the top of our lungs. But how does this help our dilemma? Obviously, it doesn’t.
The smartest, and oftentimes hardest, thing we can do in these kinds of situations is to be more tempered in our reactions. To want to scream obscenities, but to wiser and more disciplined than that. To remember that emotional rage only makes matters worse. And to remember that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to grow stronger.
Every difficult moment in our lives is accompanied by an opportunity for personal growth and creativity. But in order to attain this growth and creativity, we must first learn to control our emotions. We must recognize that difficulties pass like everything else in life. And once they pass, all we’re left with are our unique experiences with each other and this crazy world, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
Life is short. Our thoughts steer our reality. We already know this. The choice is ours to make.