The other day, just before the weekend of July 4th, the ice maker in our refrigerator died. The weather was hot, and the gin and tonic was poorly suited to the heat.
Later that evening, I joked on Twitter, asking if anyone had seen this Red Grange kid delivering ice cream lately. Of course, football fans will know that this is how the great University of Illinois running back (and later the Chicago Bears) kept fit nearly a century ago. , delivering large blocks of ice to homes in his hometown.
A few days later, I called for repair, lightly noting that not having an ice maker wasn’t a big deal. The service rep lowered his voice, saying I would be surprised how many people consider having a broken ice maker to be a disaster. “If not having an ice maker is the worst thing that happens to me this year,” I joked, “then it will be a good year.” The service rep laughed okay.
Too often we are distracted, annoyed even when things, little things, don’t go our way. It’s easy to get frustrated and in doing so we forget how lucky we are. A flight delay. A failed dinner. A dying device. These annoy us, but in the grand scheme of life, they are insignificant. In the years to come, such drawbacks will probably not be forgotten.
We must put life into perspective. Easy to say. Our irritation blinds us to reality.
We have endured a year and a half of disappointment and delusion, as well as exclusion and isolation. And we are still here. The pandemic persists, but we are slowly coming back to a different life form. Not the same, but different. In some ways he’s richer because of what we’ve been through.
We were tested and we survived. Not everyone has done it. Over 600,000 Americans have died. Millions of people have lost their jobs. Three million women have left the labor market. These are tragedies. These are benchmarks of real loss. Trouble comes and goes. The losses live like scars in our memories.
A novel lesson
Novelist JRR Tolkien wrote in The Hobbit, “So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ends.” For him, this statement was true. Tolkien was a young officer in what his generation of Britons called the Great War. He fought at the Battle of the Somme. After the war Tolkien returned to teach medieval literature at Oxford. He also raised a family and told his sons stories that would grow into great fantasy novels over time. The fires and the dragons are extinguished, leaving in their wake the possibility of renewal.
So take a deep breath.
Breathe out slowly.
Remember your blessings
Take another deep breath.
Breathe out slowly.
Smile in gratitude.
The repairman has finally arrived. Glancing quickly inside the refrigerator, he shook his head knowingly. The ice maker was really dead. Good news, a replacement would only cost $ 75, plus an additional service charge, of course. So, again, if this is the worst thing that’s happening to me this year, sign me up now.