Squishy balls are a thing. And if you don’t know they’re the best thing, you must not be seven years old. A new squishy ball has all the stress relieving power your young hands would need to help you through whatever makes you anxious whenever you need it wherever you are. Accidentally flush your brand new ice cream squishy ball down the toilet and the stuff that is known for rolling down hill is instead a concern about backing up in your plumbing with said squishy ball in the way. That was how my lovely, relaxing Sunday morning with my family took an unpleasant turn.
Sylvia cried from the loss of her beloved new toy and the inability to calm herself with said toy. Richard looked, pondered, and instructed us to use the downstairs bathroom until the crisis was resolved. I, like a lot of women, tried to play the role of consoler and maintain my calm in the midst of our storm. Being the glass-is-half-full teacher that I am, I tried to explain to Sylvia that accidents are a part of life and we’re just grateful when they’re not accidents that hurt us or people we love, all the while being grateful that my father-in-law is a plumber, but hoping we didn’t have to call him.
Our favorite movie is “Zootopia” and after a particularly bad day, the rabbit heroine Judy Hopps says to herself, “Tomorrow is another day.” The voice through her apartment wall responds, “Yeah, but it might be worse.” This is how I often approach the random events that occur in life, it might be worse. Most things that happen are things that in the scheme of our lives we won’t remember - the squishy ball falling into the toilet, the fender bender that doesn’t cause enough damage to report to insurance, the fall with a twisted ankle. Yeah, it might be worse.
Sometimes it is worse. Sometimes it’s the worst. There is no looking for the bright side or being glad that the squishy ball wasn’t so expensive or that the plumbing didn’t back up. There’s just sadness and hurt and grief and loss. I’ve only had one time in life when I received news that the worst possible outcome of a situation had happened and it was the worst. You know it when it’s the worst. You feel it in a way that covers you and threatens to take you under. I am blessed that has only been once.
So when it’s not worse or the worst, I’m going to choose as much happy and gratitude as I can. I’m going to try not to stress about those things I can’t control and won’t remember at the end of life. I may not always be successful at keeping this perspective, but when I’m not, I’ll flush that failure away and try to do better next time.
And in case you wondered, we can use our toilet again. All’s well that ends well.