Good luck or bad luck – it depends on your perspective, which can be illustrated by something that happened to me recently. Having dropped my son off at school and slowly walking back to the car, distractedly chatting to another mum about all the little trials currently occupying my mind my attention was eventually drawn to the local vicar standing next to my car, parked at a curious angle, partly across the entrance to the church car park the school borrows for drop off and pick up. The front was resting against the base of a mound of earth separating the path from the road. My first thought was did I park it that badly? Followed quickly by, that is not where I left it.
My puzzlement quickly turned to horror as I realised my car must have rolled into its current position, which meant only one thing. The hand brake was not on.
The whole incident left me naturally quite shaken. Aside from the vicarage bin being knocked over, there did not appear to be any other damage, yet it could have been much, much worse.
There are so many lessons to be learned from a situation like this. My first reactions were shock, embarrassment and blame. Shock was natural. Embarrassment and blame focus on my need to try to be perfect; never making mistakes, never upsetting people. Mistakes are part of being human. No mistake is worse than any other, whether it is missing your mouth when eating or having a knock with someone when driving. The issue is the consequences that can arise from our action.
The other nagging and practical thought is whether or not I had put the hand-brake on. Had I completely forgotten in my distracted state or maybe I hadn’t pulled it on high enough and my little passenger took it off, not understanding the consequences. Accepting my personal foibles meant that I could see this as good luck rather than bad.
The incident also left me feeling a little sorry for myself. My focus strayed to various recent events and how ‘badly’ my life is going. Our family dog had an operation with some suspect lumps, my eldest has left home and my youngest is pushing his boundaries. I also want to get moving on improving our home, which has been neglected for too long, mainly due to financial restrictions.
On reflection all these issues can be turned around – the dog turned out to be fine, my eldest is at university and my youngest is progressing. The fact I have a home and can even think about getting those home improvements done is also a blessing.
This also points out to me how easy it is to fill my mind with silly little worries and lose focus on the important things. Letting go of the mental clutter, putting the hand-brake on the trivial worries and enjoying the good I have in my life is a much safer way to be.