“One summer day two feisty young boys decided to play a prank on their sleeping grandfather. They crept into his bedroom and smeared Limburger cheese on his moustache. A short while later he awoke declaring, ‘This room smells!’ He went into the kitchen where Grandma was baking chocolate chip cookies. But he couldn’t smell the baked goods. ‘This room smells too,’ he exclaimed and headed to the back. But as he stood on the porch, he sighed, ‘The whole world smells!’”*
This story got me thinking about how some days I get off to a bad start and let that spoil my entire day. When I was a child, I had this silly notion that if I had a perfect New Year’s Day, I’d start the new year out right. Of course, since no day is perfect, I was disappointed. Somehow, I would manage to get in an argument with a sibling or not get everything done on my to-do list. While I hope I have left most of these childish notions behind me, some persist. So just as a less than perfect first day of a year will not spoil the entire year, a less than perfect start to the day will not set the wheels in motion toward disaster for that day.
Yet, how many of us grumble about getting out of bed on the wrong side or about everything turning out wrong today? Perhaps it is all in how we are looking at things. I know that one day when my young children started fighting over something, rather than getting angry with them for not getting along, I started to laugh. They stopped to see what was so funny. You know, I felt a lot better, and so did they, though I don’t think they knew why.
I wish I would be a little less serious about some things and laugh a bit more. I often need an attitude adjustment. I need to learn to look for the sunshine even on a cloudy day and to find something to be thankful for every day. For awhile a friend of mine posted three things she was thankful for every day on Facebook. She still regularly has what I call thankful posts. I think she is onto something very important. As I work on adjusting my attitude and counting my blessings, I know if I need a funny story, I can always count on that Limburger cheese story.
What do you do to improve your attitude or mood?
*I first read this story attributed to Pastor John Maxwell in the November 1998 issue of In Touch magazine in an article about “Adjusting your Attitude” and how true happiness doesn’t come from external factors. I also recently saw a variation of the story in Jennifer Rothschild’s book Me, Myself & Lies.
The picture is one my daughter took when our cat was being grumpy and didn’t want her picture taken.
This is a reprinted Reflections column.