To Sit … or to Swat?

 

Fruit-fly-evasive-maneuver

This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

(Proverbs 118:24)

Imagine you waited all day to go to a fancy party.  You had been looking forward to it for weeks.  Your dress was fabulous.  Every hair was in place.  The room was beautifully decorated.  It was perfect.  Then, you sat down to eat.  You skipped lunch so that you could enjoy the dinner that evening and you were starving. The table was set with gorgeous plates, silk napkins, and decorative silverware. The bread was passed around in a lovely basket – and it was piping hot, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. It melted in your mouth. Then, the soup was served and it smelled divine.  You couldn’t wait to try it.  You stirred it, allowing the steam to escape so that you could take a bite. As you lifted the spoon to your mouth, you noticed it.

There, on your spoon, a fly was wading in your soup….

Ugh.  What did you do?  You couldn’t eat it.  The whole bowl of soup was ruined.  You put down your spoon and pushed your bowl aside.  Then what?  You couldn’t possibly enjoy the rest of the dinner.  The wonderful night you had imagined was blasted into a cloud of disappointment. As they brought out the next course, you inspected the salad, looking for a 6-legged intruder to crawl out from under the lettuce.  You pushed your fork through the pasta and expected to find a worm. You avoided dessert because who knew what might be baked into that cake…

The entire night was ruined.  You barely spoke to the other guests.  You quickly thanked your hostess at the end of the night and made a hasty departure.  You wanted the night to be over. The night you waited so long for was nothing like you expected. You left disappointed … and hungry.

Now, let’s rewrite that story.

Let’s say there was no fly in your soup…but maybe the dress didn’t fit as you had hoped. Maybe you broke the heel on the shoes you planned to wear.  Maybe your babysitter showed up late and you rushed to make it on time.  Maybe you had a disagreement with your significant other about something that had nothing to do with the dinner at all.

Still, whatever it was that changed in the beginning of the story … it didn’t change the ending. Whether it was a fly, a bad hair day, or a minor annoyance – you allowed a little detail to ruin the rest of your night.  You allowed the fly in your soup to keep you from enjoying that delectable dinner.  You allowed that bad hair day to make you turn away that amazing chocolate torte.

Think about it.  How many times had you done something like that?  How many times had one bad occurrence, or a series of them, caused a bad mood, made you disinterested in your surroundings, made you throw in the towel?  How many times had you let one simple not-so-perfect thing make you blind to the 1001 other almost-perfect things right in front of you?

Now, let’s dig a little deeper.

What if you rewrote that story again? This time, the story line stayed the same but the characters changed.  This time, replay that scenario in your head.  The dinner party was still on, the girl in the awesome dress arrived,  the wonderful food was served … but this time, … YOU were the fly!

Had you ever been the fly in someone else’s soup?  Had you ever been the reason someone else’s night was ruined?  Had your mood, your negativity, your outright refusal to see the good in a situation or to have a good time ever ruined someone else’s experience?  Had you ever done so purposefully?

People will spoil your moods and dampen your days.  They will sit one’s grumpy selves down in the middle of your good time.  Some can’t help it. They feel defeated, sad, and lonely.  They don’t know how to handle all those negative feelings and don’t realize what they are doing. Some people choose to be that way, buzzing around looking for somewhere to land.  They search for a big bowl of delicious soup in which to sit those hairy legs.  We need to reach out to convince them to just enjoy the soup already. Sometimes, though, we have to swat the flies away … and go get another bowl of soup.

When we found ourselves playing the fly, circling our soup bowls, and thinking about coming in for a landing; we needed to take a look from our vantage point, stop, and enjoy the view.  We needed to stop looking for all the things that weren’t so great and start looking for the things that were wonderful, the things we missed when things didn’t go our way.

We constantly planned our future.  In our minds, we played out every holiday, every birthday, every special occasion.  We imagined all the details and then, when things didn’t work out that way, we considered the whole event a failure.  Why did we do that to ourselves?

The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:34, …

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  

Such truth!  If we worried about today – right now – instead of planning out tomorrow as we thought it should be; we wouldn’t be so disappointed all the time.  At any given moment, we had blessings surrounding us; but we often missed them because we were worried about what was coming next. We should enjoy things as they came, just as God intended. If only we followed that advice! When we found a fly in our soup, we could push it aside without much thought and start working on that delicious bread. We could move on and enjoy the rest of the night.  Otherwise, we only acted like that fly, sabotaging our own enjoyment.

When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I could have been that fly. I could have landed in my soup and stayed there.  It would have been so very easy to do. I could have missed the sun for the clouds and the rainbow for the rain. I could have walked through my days feeling sorry for myself, complaining about my situation, and pointing out everything that was wrong… but what good would that have done? Knowing that my time on this earth would be over much sooner than I ever expected, why would I want to spend one minute of my time that is ticking away being angry, sad, or upset? Why would I want to waste one minute of it worrying about a fly in my soup – or what people thought or what people said?

Even on the most beautiful of days, there will always be a pesky fly buzzing around in you ear or in your face.  Sometimes, it may land right on the tip of your nose.  When that happens, you have a choice.  You can allow it to bother you.  You can stare at it cross-eyed until your eyes can’t focus on anything else.

Or, you can swat it away, feel the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair.

Because the problem was never really the fly, anyway … it was your reaction to it.

Now, what did you do with that fly swatter?

Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.

(Proverbs 11:27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Jennifer Lilley Collins

I'm a Mom, wife, daughter, and friend navigating life with metastatic breast cancer while finding joy in the everyday and spreading hope, love, and inspiration along the way.

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