“You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: A rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.” – Maya Angelo
I laughed aloud the first time I read this quote, yet I felt immediately convicted. More often than I’d like to admit, I don’t deal well with simple frustrations like these.
Looking closer at the three common challenges in the quote and what they can represent, note that two are out of our control and one may be the direct result of poor planning.
A rainy day can devastate outdoor events like graduation parties, picnics, or weddings. But if the focus remains on the reason for the celebration and not the environment, very little can dampen the joy. My co-worker has a plaque on her desk that says, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.”
The key is learning to overcome the obstacles and the extra effort that rainy days require and making a decision to dance anyway. How do we handle the emotional or spiritual rainy days in our lives? Stay inside, grumble, whine? Or can we plow through determined — with a soggy spring in our step?
Lost luggage interrupts plans and feels like someone didn’t properly care for the valuables we entrusted to them. Most of the time, lost luggage is returned but not always conveniently or as quickly as we’d like. Has someone in your life mishandled your luggage — a.k.a. your trust, your intentions, your friendship or love for them? Don’t waste precious energy lamenting endlessly. Move on patiently and prayerfully, and let the restoration process run its course.
Lastly, those tangled Christmas tree lights… Ahhhh, if only I hadn’t been in such a hurry last year taking them down! There is no one to blame but me for tossing them in a box without wrapping them carefully and tightly around something so this wouldn’t happen. My nerves are as tangled as they are trying to undo the mess.
If I think of Christmas lights as strands of inspiration to decorate my soul on dark December days, then I have to tuck them away carefully and wind them around my heart tightly so they are easier to use when the time comes to unearth them from storage.
Spiritually speaking, I can…
- Take notes on sermons and lessons in church and listen to them a second time (or more) in the car or in my earbuds while exercising.
- Save inspiring images on social media, such as the many we’ve shared in the past here on the Gospel Blog, and store them in a folder to browse when I’m feeling down or to share again with someone else.
- Jot down blessings and answered prayers on slips of paper and put them in a box or jar and read them at the end of the year.
Properly strung Christmas tree lights look so calming and beautiful. Our kids loved to fall asleep in their sleeping bags in front of the lit tree, and as an adult it’s still a great way to sit and unwind from stress at the end of a demanding day, basking in the glow.
Don’t allow tangled Christmas tree lights in your life. Secure them away purposefully because we all need the peace and comfort found when the tree is the only light in the room.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.