In light in the insanity going on around us, I want to share a short, sweet story from my day.
As some of you know, I don’t own a television. I made the decision to ditch mine a decade ago and haven’t looked back. The only time I’m really exposed to the news media is when I’m doing cardio at the gym and get sucked into one of the 36 (I’ve counted them) televisions hanging from the ceiling.
I was unfortunately transfixed by a particular news story today as I sweated out my 45 minutes on the stairmonster – the story itself is irrelevant to this post. The point is that I placed my attention on something that irritated me… and I allowed it to begin gnawing away.
I finished up my cardio, still feeling irked, grabbed my gym bag from the locker room and headed for the door.
As I walked past the front desk, toward the exit, I noticed a little old man sitting at one of the tables and chairs in the lobby area. He had a big, childlike grin on his face. In front of him laid two small piles of tootsie rolls: the left one contained four wrapped tootsie rolls, and the one on the right contained two unwrapped tootsie rolls. The unwrapped candies were neatly lined up on a plain white napkin. In his hand, he was carefully unwrapping another. Off to the side was a small pile of tootsie roll wrappers.
Here, amid the global circus act, the fight for power, the tit-for-tat shenanigans of grown men and women in some of the highest offices of the world… here, amid all the strife, the hate, the threats… here, amid some of the ugliest, shadow sides of the human spirit… was a little old man tickled pink about some free tootsie rolls he grabbed from the candy jar at the front desk.
This… this simple, sweet happiness… this childlike joy from a handful of free, cheap candy… this is the stuff I want in my life. These are the things I choose to focus on.
In a moment, I had completely forgotten about the stupid news story. Instantly, my disillusion was replaced with the vicarious joy of a stranger enjoying some candy.
These little reminders are all around us, all of the time. The stuff we focus on is always a choice.