As a child, I loved the book "A Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My favorite character in entire world of fiction is Sarah Crewe (this is a big part of why I named our daughter Sarah). She had a truly noble spirit, heart-felt charity, and strong imagination. Her imagination was a coping tool to transform her depressing circumstances into an exciting fantasy full of wonder.
All my life, I've used Sarah's tricks to change my own perspective.
When I walked to school in the freezing winds in Idaho, I'd be chilled with numb cheeks and frozen fingers. The fierce wind would cut through my scarves and coat, embracing me with icy fingers and robbing my warmth. Oh I hated walking to school! With a mile left to trudge through snow, I'd play mind games to cheer myself up. I'd pretend I had been traversing the Sahara desert for days, and the sun had been blisteringly hot. It made the snow suddenly appear as my welcome cooling friend rather than a freezing enemy, and made my lonely daily travels more tolerable.
When I was in college, our apartment shower had problems and would only let out a trickle of water no matter high we turned on the water. There was absolutely no water pressure, so the water just rained down on us weakly. At first I was very frustrated. Then I imagined I had been hiking through the steamy jungles of Brazil on a science expedition I pretended I had just crossed a muddy bog and was covered in sticky grime. There were no rivers around, but luckily I found a small trickling waterfall I could bathe in. I didn't care how little the waterfall was- I was thankful to have any water at all! Suddenly this trickling shower was seen as a huge blessing instead of a source of frustration.
When we moved into our farm house full of problems, I played more mind tricks to cheer me up. The house was too filthy to live in, had a rotting roof and holes in numerous walls, had really really ugly paint in every room, the plumbing didn't work well, and everything in general just LOOKED bad.
To make the best of things, I pretended I was an American pioneer who had just crossed the plains in a handcart. After months of strenuous work and living outdoors, I finally built my first cabin in the West. Suddenly my house was wonderfully luxurious! I had indoor plumbing and didn't have to fetch water from a stream! I had a solid roof over my head rather than a thin wagon cover! I didn't have to sleep on the ground at night! I had the miracle of air conditioning to cool the hot Texas summer! I had clean tile instead of a dirt floor! My family was well-fed and healthy! Life improved so much by changing my perspective.
Well, this week our water heater stopped working. It's been three long days since we had hot water. I tried my mind games again when I had to bathe without the blessing of hot water. I ran a tub of cold water, then heated several pots of water on the stove to add to the tub, hoping it would be warm enough to be at least comfortable. As I prepared the hot water, I pondered our ancestors and felt thankful that at least I had a large luxurious tub instead of a little barrel to bathe in. After emptying the contents of my steaming pots into the cold tub, I hopefully tested the water. Yikes! It was barely warm at all! I closed my eyes tightly and pretended I had been walking across the dusty plains for a week without a bath, imagining dust and grime all over me. I revved myself up by thinking what a luxury this was going to be- hurrah for cleanliness!
It didn't work nearly as well as I had hoped. Washing long hair in a tub is no picnic, and the water was still unpleasant and the chilly air bit my skin, causing me to gasp involuntarily. My imagination must be getting rusty.
(Okay, not really. I don't have time to read right now. Wishful thinking perhaps...)
|Joseph enjoys a tree swing on a brisk cold morning|