Smirkin’ at Gherkins

Motivational Thoughts

It was almost a couple months ago when I posted something on Facebook about my random encounter with an unintentionally inspirational child. I still think about the encounter frequently and I want to reemphasize the whole situation and bring more light to what had happened. It’s the little events like this that shed fragments of motivation on our day to day lives and keep us positive.

So here’s the situation: I’m in Wal-Mart on a Saturday evening looking around for groceries. It was a sub-par day and I had been edgy at the time.That was until a man and his son came across my aisle. I was by the ketchup when they passed me and I heard the kid whispering about me and the ketchup area. Sadly, my first reaction was annoyance. I’m not exactly sure why, but the random murmuring slightly bothered me. Again, one of those edgy moods. That suddenly changed minutes later.

As they pass, the kid asked his dad if they were going to get ketchup since they use it so much. The kid also claimed that they use a lot of it so they need some more. The father had told them they had plenty. Next, they approach the pickles. This is where it gets real. When they get close to the pickles the kid goes nuts.

Now I’m no parent, but I remember how it was being that young and at times irritable. I’ve also seen a fair amount of children in stores that misbehave and throw temper tantrums, so it’s a rare gem when you see children who cooperate in one of the most tempting parts of a store there is. This little boy was one of those rare gems.

When they approach the pickles, the kid goes nuts…but not in a temper tantrum way. He’s ecstatic to see the pickles. So much so that even if his dad didn’t get any, he would have stayed cool. Sure I could be wrong, but he was way too happy to change moods. His dad decides to let him get some pickles and the kids just won the Olympics. He shouts, “Yay pickles!!!” in triumphant victory and it instantly filled my heart with joy and put a pretty huge smile on my face. Adorable is an understatement. As the family walks away, the kid still cheering in victory, they go into the next aisle. I hear the kid shout again over some dried cranberries that his dad must have got him as well. In that moment, I caught myself falling into the same trap we are all guilty of. I caught myself thinking, “If only life were still that easy.” Instantly, this conviction had me thinking that maybe life can still be that easy as long as we are willing to let it be.

As human beings, we often wish we could drive a DeLorean back to the days where the biggest stresses in life was choosing between white or chocolate milk and whether we will play tag or kickball during recess. Sure, those days are long gone, but the stress levels don’t always have to be. Yes, we all have rough times and rough seasons, but we are still capable of shrugging off the many stresses of life.

Life is inevitably hard and you can’t refute this statement. Additionally, every single person in this world has their own tolerance and interpretation of hard. You can’t rate “hard” on a scale. Period. What is extremely difficult for one person cannot be easy for somebody else because the other person doesn’t know the circumstances that the person struggling is going through. We often compare our circumstances to one another and claim that we have it worse off when really we aren’t allowed to make the judgement. Only God can make those types of judgements and only God can put us through those trials and tribulations for good reason. Just because we think our lives are worse than somebody else doesn’t mean they are. When we play it off that way, it’s apparent that we have our own personal problems that need dealt with first. I’ve been guilty of this several times…but I digress.

Although life does get hard at times, we are still capable of making it easier to bear. When the rough times emerge, we should focus on the easy joys that life provides us. Sure, there’s always something to worry about with jobs, school, families, sports, deadlines, bills, loans, responsibility, emotions, and the other 90 problems, but can’t we all just take a deep breath from all of these worries and live our lives like the kid with the pickles? Better yet, take more than one breath and one moment. We’re all doing it wrong, and that kid is doing it right.. The simple fact that something as small as getting a jar of pickles should give people hope for a better life.

This isn’t the last time I’ll rant about this, but we live in an age where people spew out their emotions to the world in hopes of finding something that will give them temporary relief. This is the the double edged sword known as social media. People focus on the smallest, unimportant things that bring them down and broadcast them to the world instead of dealing with the problem at hand. If your tire blows out on the interstate, are you going to call your chiropractor, dentist, and grandma up to tell what happened, or are you going to dig through your trunk to find a spare and replace it in order to get your butt home? It should be the same concept when dealing with bad days and attitudes. Our acquaintances who never even talk to us in real persons don’t magically have telepathic powers that they can use across states to make our brains magically think differently of our problems. Some things we just have to deal with on our own and let God help us along the way. Additionally, some of these things are better left unspoken, especially if they can have a negative impact on the people around us. Raise people up, don’t bring them down. If we try to ignore the harder parts of life and not amplify the negative aspects of these hard things, then we can make life much easier for ourselves and the people we influence.

Encountering the tiniest joys in life has the power to change people tenfold. If that one kid going nuts over a small jar of pickles had the ability to change my mood from irritable to inspired, then think of the impact you can have on somebody else if you were to focus on the little things. I mean the majority of the time, there’s several people who watch our lifestyles and actions without us knowing it. If we can make life easier and happier, then they’ll walk in our footsteps and do the same which could potentially create a snowball effect.

Stop focusing on the things that bring you down and make you feel less, but focus on the little things that bring you up and make you feel more. You’re worth more than that, so you might as well feel that way. We need to start going nuts when we successfully pay a bill on time when we normally forget about it. We need to shout in victory when we leave the house a couple minutes early and we aren’t rushing to make it to our destination on time. We need to act like we just won the Superbowl when our kids and friends tell us they had a good day at school. The more we do this in our day to day lives, the more we will condition ourselves to living a better and happier life. Ultimately, the happier we are, the happier the people around us will be when our own feelings rub off on them. It’s a win/win.

Ditch your bad habits of posting every struggle you encounter in life. Reach out for your are of pickles and celebrate in victory. Who knows how many lives you may change just from living and easier life and begin happier.

Love ya!

-Clayton

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