Tuesday, July 28, 2009

P4E.115 Doomsday Scenario

I lost the key to my SUV this last weekend. It was the only key we had for the vehicle. I know, that's pretty dumb, huh? In some ways I handle situations like this very differently than I used to. It embarrasses me to say that I used to become very angry. Explode. These episodes were filled with self-loathing and made my wife and kids extremely uncomfortable. I would really beat myself up over losing something. Sometimes I would progress to accusing my wife or kids of moving things. Purposely hiding things just to irritate me! No wonder they wanted to run and hide whenever something went missing. In my better moments I no longer get so extreme.

There are several stages that I go through when I lose something. First is disbelief. Where is it? How did I misplace it? Surely it's around here somewhere. How could I lose a key between the driveway and the house? Next comes acknowledgement. OK, it really is missing. I admit, I still go through the "what an idiot I am" stage, but it is foreshortened and not so extreme. We've looked at all of the usual places that it might be, so now we have to start looking in the unusual places it might be. Finally, and this is the most difficult phase, comes resignation. It's gone. I have to let it go. I have to figure out a "Plan B" to work around the lost item.

Resignation is where I get into trouble. As a naturally "glass is half-empty" sort of person, my imagination goes wild with negative potentialities. Doomsday scenarios play havoc with my emotions. When I resigned myself that the key was lost, my mind immediately went to "It's a programmable key. It's going to be very expensive to replace. They probably won't have one in stock at the dealer. They'll have to order it. I might not be able to get it delivered before we're supposed to go on our trip. I was going to get the SUV serviced before we left. Now I won't be able to get that done. Even if I get the key back in time to leave, I won't get it serviced. We'll probably break down on the way..." and so on.

What I verbalized to my wife was, "I'm worried we won't be able to go on our trip." Even though I knew how much this trip means to her, I didn't commit to figuring out a "how I'm going to make it happen," Plan B. This caused Gwen to go into a tailspin. She ended up sitting in the living room quietly crying.

I tried my best to comfort Gwen and assure her that things were going to be alright. The next day I found out that my key was not programmable, the dealer did have it in stock, I got two keys made for much less than I thought it would cost and I got the vehicle into the shop.

Even though we've been married for 31 years, I still forget how my negativity affects my wife. I need to be so much more careful in protecting my own spirit, and consequently Gwen's spirit, from my doomsday scenarios. It's a matter of cultivating a "can do, how am I going to make it happen?" attitude.

"All things are possible for him who believes...I do believe; help my unbelief."
Mark 9:23

1 comment:

  1. Hope you have a wonderful vacation! Give my love to Gwen.