Call it an object lesson in perspective.
Yesterday, I was contemplating writing something along the lines of "Am I allowed to hate my life when there are many (even here on this site) who would likely kill for half of what I have?" and the only thing that stopped me was that I didn't know where to put it. You see, I had a less-than-pleasant day yesterday (it started with a doctor visit - enough said), and have been depressed over certain other features of my life as of late. I was, in short, pissy.
I had to stop at the store on the way home, and I was so caught up in my private universe of disproportionate misery that I forgot to get a few things that I wanted, and forgot to do a number of things that I normally do, including the five cent discount for bringing my own bag. The very nice lady in line behind me reminded me that next time I should do that. I told her that I normally do, but that it had been a rough day and it was easy to forget the little things. Only I wasn't as nice to her as she was to me. I look back on that with regret.
Then, as I was walking out of the store, I witnessed a pretty nasty accident. No one was hurt, but there was a good deal of damage done both to the car and to an innocent young tree. Again, I was so caught up in my own concerns that I glossed over the incident once I noticed that there were enough people at the scene to provide enough help that my presence was not required. I look back on that, too, with regret. You never know what another pair of hands might have accomplished for the greater good.
But then comes a new day, and with it a new perspective. And that word is tremendously important here - perspective. I look back on yesterday and have to think... Was what I was going through really so bad? So I got some worrying news from the doctor, so what? I won't know anything for sure until the test results come back, and even if they do come back with the worst possible outcome, it only means a few minor lifestyle changes for me - it's not like I've got some fatal illness or anything. And most likely, it isn't anything at all. Certainly nothing worth being snappish to a stranger who was only trying to be helpful. And then there was that accident to really put it all in perspective. Compared to that poor slob, was my day really so bad?
Not at all.
I have to admit that at times like this, when these revelations occur to me, that I really do wonder. I've never been a particularly spiritual person, but I do pride myself on being a good deal more open minded than your average empiricist. Significantly more agnostic than atheistic. I've had a few friends casually (and sometimes not so casually) throw out the phrase "Everything happens for a reason" as a sort of generalized belief in... well, something. Maybe it's fate, maybe it's a deity, maybe it's forces beyond our comprehension, who knows? Not I. But there's nothing quite like the revelation that maybe the universe is trying to tell you something. And maybe that means it's time to stop being caught up in your own concerns and listen.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Truer words were never spoken.