Riding the wave

It was one of those mornings when you wake up and get barraged with one piece of bad news after another. Everything that can go wrong does, and there seems to be no end to this downward spiral. To top things off, my wife was away on a trip, and things are always worse when she’s not around. Even as I embarked on the day, I was already feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.

Then our van’s motor started making a strange loud noise. Over the past little while, there’d been one breakdown after another. One problem would get fixed, only for something else to break. I started thinking how I couldn’t count on this van anymore, and it was turning into a bottomless pit that devoured time, money, and energy.

Once my mind gets on a negative wavelength, the worst thing I can do is start listening to it, as I did that morning. As the day progressed, everything seemed to get bleaker and more miserable. I was unhappy about pretty much everything.

It was in this frame of mind that I reluctantly took the van to a car service. While the mechanic worked on it and I had some time alone, I remembered the story about playing the glad game—trying to name the good things in your life when you are feeling sad. So I decided to give it a try and started counting my blessings. At first, I felt like I was forcing myself to come up with things to say. But as I continued, more things came to mind, and eventually I began to feel genuinely grateful to God for His goodness and blessings.

And then suddenly something magical happened: like a sea wave washes away rocks and debris that have built up on the seashore, a wave of joy overwhelmed me, washing away all the negativity and sadness. My heart and mind were filled with peace, contentment, and joy. My day was completely turned around!

It’s only later on that I realized that nothing had actually changed in my physical circumstances. I was still at the mechanic’s with a broken van, and my wife was still away. But suddenly, none of that really had any impact on my happiness. I became keenly aware of how content and happy I was with my life and everything in it. I experienced the magic of gratitude that can turn a miserable day into a joyful one.