Somewhere along the line, maybe while I was sleeping, I have a suspicion that my mind got a PHD in assuming the worst.
Yes, when the phone rings, I often feel nervous because I assume it is bad news.
My father introduced me to the poem “The Peace Of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry when I was a teenager. One of my favorite lines in the poem is:
“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.”
If I netted a dollar for every time I taxed my life with the forethought of grief, I would be a billionaire right now.
So when I saw the trash bag over my driver-side window, I immediately thought of shattered glass strewn throughout my car and envisioned spending hours on the phone with the insurance company.
Luckily, my worst fears were pleasantly surprised. When I opened the car door, I didn’t find a single shard of glass.
The black bag that I thought symbolized the doom of my peaceful night, in actuality, symbolized the simple kindness of a maintenance man I never met. He saw an open car window, knew it might rain, and covered it with a garbage bag. I know the person who gave me this small kindness was a man because the parking attendant said so when I went down to thank her.
The maintenance man took a few minutes out of his day so I didn’t have to spend the next week trying to dry out my car.
I still haven’t successfully trained my mind on how not to fear the worst. However, I’m becoming increasingly more open to my pessimistic assumptions being wrong. If the perfect mind, that only thinks positive, peaceful thoughts exists, I definitely don’t carry it on top of my neck.
Peace comes to me imperfectly. I do my best to enjoy it when it comes and to appreciate all the kind people who help create it, sometimes one garbage bag at a time.
JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment. He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.
He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “doing your Imperfect Best ™”.
His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.