It’s not easy to be cheery when your car has just broken down on a freezing cold December day. But it is precisely these times, the days when a little rain falls in your life, that we have to be at our best.
When we face the trials that can blight anyone of us, we have to be more ready, willing and able to switch on the gratitude attitude (who did coin that phrase?) than ever. How we deal with these difficulties has a knock on effect each and every time we encounter a problem.
So I’m heading to my father’s house on said Saturday in the old Astra that has served me so well when all electrics cut out, steering feels like I’m in charge of a hot air balloon and power fails under foot – luckily I can get the motor off the road. It’s no one’s idea of a great start to the weekend.
But here’s where I have changed over the years. I know that this is not going to get me down because I’ve gotten used to dealing with issues such as this without resorting to the John Cleese privet technique. And I’ve got some backup in the form of a breakdown service and a family up the road who just might bring me a coffee and a hot sausage roll as I wait. So it’s not all bad.
And then I’m given two reasons to be really cheerful in the form of good old community spirit when, five minutes apart, two ladies who have kids in the same school as mine, seeing my plight, pull over to help. The truth is there was nothing more they could do but knowing that these good people haven’t just driven past and have offered assistance was a real boost to the gratitude list.
And then my wife turns up with said sausage roll (sans coffee) and a warmer coat. More reasons to be grateful.
A little later than advertised, but only by ten minutes, the mechanic turns up and gets me to a local garage. But it’s now closing time for him and he’s got enough work to keep him going for a month. And I need to be in Newcastle on Tuesday afternoon – a four hour drive with a strong tail wind. So I explain my plight and Bob (the garage owner and fantastic mechanic) works over so as not to let anyone down and have me on my way. Another great service and the personal touch that is too easy to overlook if we aren’t ready to seek out the opportunities for gratitude.
The milk of human kindness has overflowed and shown me that a vehicle breakdown need not be the stain on a day that it can so easily become.