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A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

This morning as I backed the car out of our narrow driveway trying to navigate between piles of snow on either side, a chunk of the driver’s side mirror tore off as it scraped too close to the fence. Moaning about my mistake, I dropped off my daughter at school. Moments later I heard a loud scraping noise as I exited the parking lot. (By now my moans had given way to heartfelt exclamations that I should not repeat here!)  My car had clipped the edge of a small snow bank, scraping the bottom of the front passenger door. But how much damage, I reasoned, could a snow bank do? Several hundred dollars’ worth, I discovered when I stopped to inspect the door.

By now I was beginning to feel that I had embarked on what Judith Viorst calls a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Attempting to lift my spirits, I reminded myself that everyone makes mistakes. Then I tried countering my bad mood by counting my blessings, thanking God for sunshine, children, and snowflakes. Wait a minute, wasn’t it snowflakes that had started all the trouble?

My dark mood hovered like an unbudgeable cloud. Then I thought of some wise advice offered by an elderly friend. Mary told me that whenever something bothered her, she asked herself whether the problem would matter fifty years from now. If the answer was yes, she gave herself permission to be upset. But a no response helped restore her perspective. Since I couldn’t convince myself that a damaged car would matter much in fifty years, I decided to stop wallowing in my “very bad day.” To distract myself, I decided to head to the grocery store. By the time I returned home, I felt better, helped by a short drive under brilliant blue skies, a dose of fresh air, and the fact that I encountered not a single fence or one destructive snow bank.   More


 (Image courtesy of bradleygee at flickr.com)

 
Originally published October 11, 2012.

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