Today I became very angry. A delivery that was supposed to happen yesterday … with the companies precise scheduling “sometime between 8:30am and 5:00pm.” It didn’t happen, in spite of several phone calls to find out what was going on. It didn’t happen. It was scheduled today, supposedly before 12 noon – or shortly thereafter. Again, several phone calls later – no one really had a good answer as to what happened. The mysterious delivery is supposed to happen tomorrow. Perhaps it will – but what I gained today is going to make tomorrow a lot easier.
I started to become quite angry. I was not irritated (that might have been justified). I was becoming very angry. The kind of anger that would have translated into outward behavior, I have no doubt. When it was finally determined that the delivery wasn’t going to occur – unless someone waived a magic wand, or sprinkled fairy dust – I headed to catch a bus to get some errands done. As I was sitting on the bus with the rain coming down (Oh, just great! … mutter, mutter, mutter), there was another problem. One that really caught my attention. A gentleman got on the bus who had obviously had a very bad day – no, make that a week (at least). Nothing was going right, everything was wrong and everything was everyone else’s fault. No one could meet his standards for breathing, let alone living. When he got off the bus, there was almost a collective sigh of relief – but one from me of awareness. As much as I don’t want to admit it, his outward expression was somewhat matching my own inward feelings.
Had I continued with my thoughts and mental complaints, things would have been very different. And I wouldn’t have begun to notice things around me again. The beauty of the clouds as they moved, the various expressions of people as they moved through existence. I wouldn’t have noticed something I thought went out of style when I was a “young-un.” There was actually a child with folded paper sailing a “boat” in the water of the gutter.
I want to borrow a story from a wonderful teacher/actress that I have the privilege to know personally. She has an amazing outlook on life and living.
My cousins live in Asheville, North Carolina, where Jesse is a prominent surgeon. He is a fine man, a very gracious man, a very loving man, but a man who doesn’t like cats. His wife, Frances, is a delightful person who loves cats.
One day a little neighbor girl ran crying to their house. Her cat had climbed up in a tall, slender tree and couldn’t get down. Jesse thought that was a very good place for a cat to be, but following Frances’s gentle persuasion, he said, “Let’s see what we can do to help.”
The two of them decided that Frances, who is of diminutive stature, would grab the lower part of the tree and work it down until the topmost branches reached Jesse. Then Jesse, who is quite tall, would scoop the frightened cat from the top of the tree to safety. Their plan worked well at first. Frances grabbed the part of the tree within her reach and pulled it toward her. The tree tipped down like a thirsty giraffe, bearing a tiny passenger on its head. The branches were almost to Jesse when Frances lost her grip!
The little girl was crushed, but the shock of her beloved cat’s mode of departure stopped her sobbing. Frances was overcome by guilt because she and Jesse had lost the little girl’s cat. Jesse tried not to laugh. They all accepted the foiled rescue attempt. What else could they do?
A few days later, Frances was in the grocery store and noticed a friend pushing a grocery cart with cat food in it. She knew that her friends’ husband didn’t like cats any more than Jesse did. “I see you have cat food. Do you have a cat?” she asked.
Her friend stopped, looked around to be sure no one else could hear, and said, “Frances, the strangest thing happened. My husband and I were sitting in out backyard when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this cat landed at our feet! My husband looked at the cat and then at me. He said, “Maude, the Lord has sent us a cat!”
My cousins’ story gives me new insight into the dilemmas of traveling and the bewilderments I often find in life. I identify with that cat! Often flung out into uncharted space. I’m not sure where I’m going, but I’m going there very rapidly. Clashing priorities, scrambled agenda, sudden assignments, unexpected incidents catapult me into areas and activities for which I have no comfortable preparation. Sometimes, I even look like that cat. Claws out! Eyes wide! Grasping for breath and trying unsuccessfully to get my act together before I land.
–Jeannette Clift George
Travel Tips From A Reluctant Traveler
–angry kitten by Yiannis Pavlis