Monday, January 21, 2013

Busy with the Absent

My house is usually overloaded with estrogen and all that goes with it.  Currently, there are two males and four females in the house and that’s not going to last much longer as Zac is contemplating abandoning me.  I’ll be alone with the roller coaster of emotions, the worst being the 8-year old!

A couple of years ago, it was even worse.  Our daughter, Heather, was graduating from high school or escaping as she called it and the news of this grand event went out to all interested parties.  To celebrate the event, one grandmother, two aunts, four cousins and two second cousins made their way down to us and the only male in the bunch was the two month old who was still in diapers and couldn’t even roll over on his own.  It was a massive out-numbering and I quickly stocked up on scotch and cigars as my house was soon full of giggles and hair products.

The day and hour finally arrived when everyone had to get ready for the ceremony.  Some were attending the event while others were preparing the house for the party to end all parties which would follow.  All two-year old Alyssa knew was that she wanted attention and no one was giving it to her.  Everyone was busy with curling irons, makeup and Jell-o shots.  Alyssa didn’t care.  She saw the activity and wanted to help and she wanted to help right then.

So, I stepped up to the plate, always the helpful person that I am.  “Alyssa, you know what you can do?  You can help me find the dog.  He’s been hiding since you arrived and I can’t find him.”

Her little eyes lit up.  “A dog?  Okay!”  And off she went, and the women were left alone to finish their preparations.

It lasted for about twenty minutes until her mom heard her screaming out for the dog.  “What are you doing?”
“I’m trying to find the dog.  He’s hiding.”

Becky looked at me, confused.  I get that look quite a bit from the girls.  “You have a dog?”

I shook my head.  “No, but it kept her busy for awhile.”

“Robbie!”  It was a unison yell by all within earshot and I was sent to my porch while Alyssa returned to asking why she couldn’t do her own hair.  I had tried to help and was being punished with a quiet porch and a cigar.  I attempted to act as if it was unfair as I smiled my way out the sliding glass door.

It’s sad, really, but we do this to ourselves quite often.  We spend our time searching for something that isn’t really there.  Usually, this happens when we misunderstand a comment or lack of response and we over-think it, looking for a problem that doesn’t even exist.  We misread a tone of voice or a look on someone’s face and suddenly our imagination runs wild with all kinds of scenarios as we try to anticipate a hurt feeling or a bad mood.  This alone can lead to bigger problems.

This is a time consumer that will keep us from being productive.  It takes over our attention and swallows our time with no real benefit.  Why doesn’t that person answer my text?  Why haven’t they returned my call?  Why didn’t they come over and say hi when they saw me at the mall?  We’re borrowing trouble when we begin looking at what might not be there.  We dwell on it and, eventually, a wall can build up, separating friends over a nonexistent problem.  Negativity is a black hole wherein you can get lost once sucked in and never come out of if you’re not careful.
We can waste time searching for the dog when what we need to do is ask if the dog even exists.  Don’t fret over a problem until you confirm that there even is one.  Think positive thoughts until you know better and give people the benefit of the doubt.  They could have had a bad day or be overloaded at work and just haven’t seen the text or had time to return the call.  Perhaps it got lost and they are wondering why you haven’t reached out to them.  Our imaginations can be our worst enemy and do more damage than good in these situations.  Call.  Text. Visit.  Don’t just sit and worry over a fictional problem as a dog does a bone.  Stop searching for the absent canine and deal with what you know to be true.  You’ll save quite a bit of time and heartache.

“Is there a problem?  No?”  And then together you can enjoy the porch and the quietness.

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For Further Reading ~ A Self-Made Cage
                                The Lights of Friendship

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