Let It Go

About a month ago, we learned that the big, old oak tree in our back yard was diseased and dying.  We’d been worried about its health for a while.  We also knew that if the tree fell down of its own accord it would fall either directly on our garage or the neighbor’s garage, and probably also hit one of our houses.  Safety comes first, so we called a local tree company and arranged to have the tree taken down.

Last week the removal crew showed up, positioned a big crane in our driveway and went to work.  The job took about five hours, and I was impressed with the way they worked until the the foreman announced that they were done for the day, casually adding, “You’re going to have some wood in your yard for a while.”  He explained that they could only remove the limbs small enough to fit in their chipper and that another crew would be along later to collect the trunk and bigger limbs.   When I inquired as to exactly what he meant by “later” he assured me that it was usually only a couple of days, but added that he couldn’t guarantee that timeline.

61CAD860-FB5D-463A-A574-94E3070DD4B9_1_201_aA quick survey of the yard revealed a stack of logs in the grass between our house and driveway, more stacks in the back yard, some of which were laying across the sidewalk, and finally, the huge trunk of the tree spanning the area behind the garage to the middle of the yard.  I asked him how long it usually took logs left on a lawn to kill the grass underneath them, and he said about seven days.

Five days later, the logs were still there and my husband and I were not happy.  We’re not the sort of people who pride ourselves on a perfect lawn, but we’re also not the sort who enjoy paying to have their lawn re-sodded just because a tree company left big logs strewn about.  We called and complained to the manager, and were assured that they should get to it within “a couple of days.”  That was when I made the transition from unhappy to frustrated and angry.

I fretted and stewed about it for most of the morning, which meant that I was in an awful mood as I went about my daily chores.  It’s not fun to tackle even the simplest tasks when you’re all worked up in righteous indignation, and walking shelter dogs while being TERRIBLY ANNOYED is also not pleasant.  But there really wasn’t anything else we could do about the situation, and eventually I realized that being so upset was doing nothing but making a bad situation worse.

And so I decided to let my anger and frustration go.  I knew that they would eventually show up and move the logs, and that we would deal with the damage to our yard then.  Meanwhile, I didn’t want to waste any more energy fretting about something that I couldn’t fix, especially since the more I thought about, the more I realized that a damaged lawn and a blocked sidewalk weren’t the worst thing in the world.

I know I’ll never be happy when problems arise, especially problems that I believe could have been prevented.  (How about not taking down the tree until  the clean-up crew is available?)  But I’m finally learning that there’s nothing to be gained by getting all worked up about situations that I can’t control.  Sometimes, if only for my peace of mind, I just need to let things go…….

Ageless Wisdom

E6D3115D-C5C8-4E4E-B4AF-CC75B8DB084FI was dusting the spare bedroom the other day when I noticed a piece of paper sticking out from my grandmother’s old family Bible.  Curious, I pulled it out and discovered it was a reflection, neatly typed on a small piece of paper with my grandmother’s name signed at the bottom of it.  I have no idea if this is something she wrote herself, or if she found it somewhere and decided with was worth copying down and saving.  At any rate, it ended up in the same Bible where she kept a careful record of our family’s births, marriages, and deaths, so I believe it must have held some special meaning for her.  And after reading it, I can understand why.

It may be old, but I think in many ways that this reflection speaks just as well to today’s world.  And I thought that instead of writing my own post this week, I would simply share the words that my grandmother saved:

Just For Today

Just for today, I will try to to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life’s problems at once.  I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today, I will be happy.  This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that “most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind.  I will study and I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer.  I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.

Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three ways:  I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out.  If anybody knows about it, it will not count.  I will do at least two things I don’t want to do…just for exercise.  And if my feelings are hurt, today I will not show it.

Just for today, I will be agreeable.  I will look as well as I can, act courteously, criticize not one bit and not find fault with anything.  I will not try to improve or regulate anyone except myself.

Just for for today, I will have a program.  I may not follow it exactly, but I will try.  And I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax.  During this half hour I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today, I will be unafraid.  Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

I always believed that my grandmother was a wise woman.  Turns out, I was right about that…..