Friday, August 18, 2017

Broken Eggs and Shattered Glass

 . . . with my sincere thanks to those late night pranksters! 

On a recent Saturday evening at around midnight, my wife and I were just about to turn out the light and go to sleep when we heard the sounds of a group of people talking in the street, outside our home. Then out of the blue came two loud thuds above our bedroom window, followed by the noise of laughter and people running away down our street.

We both jumped out of bed, I turned on the external lights and rushed outside unsure of what had caused the two thuds or what damage I could expect to see. The silence of the night was broken by the distant sound of people laughing and at that moment I was of a mind to chase after them, however, running bare-footed on the road in the dark is not a very wise thing to do.

I could hear dripping noises on the driveway and the flood light above our garage helped me to identify just what had happened. Our home had been the victim of an egg bombing!

Being faced with the prospect of cleaning up this sticky mess in the early hours of the morning was not a pleasing thought, on top of which I was less than impressed that we had been singled out for this annoying prank. I decided that it was too late to clean up the mess, as it would disturb our neighbors, so it could wait to the morning.

Early next morning with a bucket of warm water and scrubbing brush in hand, and with the extension ladder placed on the front wall, I was now ready to wash off what was now two dry yellowish, egg grit impregnated, 1 meter long patches above our front bedroom windows.

My task was made even more challenging by the two large canvas awnings which protect our bedroom windows from the heat and glare of the afternoon sun. My annoyance with the late night pranksters was again building to the level of the night before.


After retracting each of the awnings, something we rarely do except when there is are very high winds, I then climbed the ladder to clean up the first patch of egg stain and then move the ladder to clean the second patch.

As I climbed the ladder for the second time, I noticed that the glass in a small window just under the roof line was very badly cracked. On closer inspection the crack ran around over half of the outer edge of the window pane. As the awning protected the window, it was clear to me that the damage had not been caused by the egg bombing. As I carefully placed my hand on the glass, I discovered that the pane of glass was very loose and had the window been closed with any force, it would have most likely shattered and the glass dropped to the drive way, some seven metres below.

Just a few meters away, we have a basketball ring and on most days of the week there are up to six young people who play in the immediate area, including both my sons. My thoughts immediately turned to what could have happened if the broken glass in the window had gone undetected for much longer and then suddenly shattered. The likelihood of my two sons and their friends being seriously injured was extremely high. 

After quickly washing the remaining egg stain off the front wall and with the help of Tom, my youngest son, I got to work with some heavy duty masking tape and secured the cracked window as best I could. Within 24 hours the cracked window had been replaced and all was back to normal, except for the small bits of egg shell I kept finding on the front drive way and stuck to our garage doors.

Over the next few days, I realized that had our home not been bombarded by those eggs late on that Saturday night, I may not have discovered the broken window pane before it shattered and came down all over our drive way.

Even though it had been an annoyance at time, the broken eggs and the stains were cleaned up very quickly, however, the pain that could have been caused by the shattering of glass would never gone away and would have haunted my wife and myself, forever and a day.


The cold shudder that ran down my spine when I first discovered the cracked window and the thought about the consequences of someone being seriously injured or even killed, made me realize just how very lucky we had been.

Frequently in life, the small things that happen to us may have a negative impact and cause some form of pain, sadness, discomfort or personal aggravation. It is often said that we should not 'sweat the small stuff' and always look for the positive outcome or the silver lining in those dark clouds of the current circumstance, even though at the time that is not always an easy thing to do.

My personal experience with the egg bombing on that Saturday evening reminded me that in most cases there is always a flip side to everything that happens to us and that often the flip side can provide a positive outcome or an even greater benefit, if not now, then at some time in the future.

From now on whenever I see or break an egg, I will think of the egg bombing incident and say a thank you to those late night pranksters. Equally, I will always be reminded of Jean-Paul Sartre's quote: 

'What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us'

-- Keith Ready
 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stick to it

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.

--  Author Unknown

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I have a choice about today

I  woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today and I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don't have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn't give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school oreagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can appreciate that I have a place to call home.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me. I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

Have a GREAT DAY... unless you have other plans and please remember, a 'Smile' will make the days go better.

-- Author Unknown


Friday, July 21, 2017

Then you still have hope

If you can look at the sunset and smile, and find beauty in the colors of a small flower, then you still have hope.

If you can find pleasure in the movement of a butterfly, and if the smile of a child can still warm your heart, then you still have hope.

If you can see the good in other people, and if the rain breaking on a roof top can still lull you to sleep, then you still have hope.

If the sight of a rainbow still makes you stop and stare in wonder, and if the soft fur of a favored pet still feels pleasant under your fingertips, then you still have hope.

If you meet new people with a trace of excitement and optimism, and if you give people the benefit of the doubt, then you still have hope.

If you still offer your hand in friendship to others that have touched your life, and if receiving an unexpected card or letter still brings a pleasant surprise, then you still have hope.

If the suffering of others still fills you with pain and frustration, and if you refuse to let a friendship die, or accept that it must end, then you still have hope.

If you look forward to a time or place of quiet and reflection, and if you still watch love stories or want the endings to be happy, then you still have hope.

If you can look to the past and smile, and when faced with the bad, when told everything is futile, you can still look up and end the conversation with the phrase ... 'yes, but ....' Then you still have hope.

Hope is such a marvelous thing. It bends, it twists, it sometimes hides, but rarely does it break. It sustains us when nothing else can. It gives us reason to continue and courage to move ahead, when we tell ourselves we'd rather give in.

Hope puts a smile on our face when the heart cannot manage. Hope puts our feet on the path when our eyes cannot see it. Hope moves us to act when our souls are confused of the direction.

Hope is a wonderful thing, something to be cherished and nurtured and something that will refresh us in return. It can be found in each of us and it can bring light into the darkest of places. So never lose hope.

-- Author Unknown

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Knowing What Is Important

Do you know what is really important in your life? Here is somebody who might have found out the hard way.

It happened on the evening of April 14, 1912. The Titanic, the largest ship afloat, struck an iceberg in the treacherous waters of the Atlantic. Four hours later she sank to the bottom.

A place on one lifeboat was reserved for a certain woman. She was just stepping into the boat when she asked if she could run to the ship’s library to get something. She was allowed three minutes.

The woman ran through the corridors of the reeling vessel. Crossing the saloon she caught sight of jewelry strewn around the floor. Passengers had hurriedly cleaned out their safes and dropped valuables as they ran. What an opportunity. Wealth literally at her fingertips!

But she ignored the jewelry, made her way to the library, snatched a copy of the Bible and ran back to the waiting lifeboat.

Earlier that day it may have seemed incredible to the woman to choose a copy of the Bible over valuable jewelry. But in the face of death, prized valuables became relatively unimportant, and what may have seemed unimportant became suddenly valuable.

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a catastrophe to shuffle our priorities into a sensible order. But what if in a catastrophe when we never do discover what is truly important.

Lee L. Jampolsky said, “At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Have the wisdom and the courage to build your life around your answer.

What if you were to take Jampolsky’s advice seriously? What if you regularly asked yourself what, in that moment, was really important, then built your life around your answer? How different would your life be?

-- Steve Goodier (Life Support System)