It isn’t the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh–I really think that requires spirit. (from Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster)
I have been saying this forever. It’s not the tragedies and the huge genuine worries that get you–it’s the dishes and the laundry and the traffic. The dropped wireless calls, the sticky place on the floor you swear you just mopped, the uneven squeak in the rocking chair.
When I was a little girl my grandparents had this game called Don’t Spill The Beans. I really hated that game. It was basically just a little bucket with a concave lid that hung suspended between two little poles. The object of the game was to pile as many beans as possible on the lid of the bucket without tipping it over and spilling them. It was terribly frustrating for me. Any game that ends every time with everything falling apart is not the game for me. But anyway, it’s never the really big beans that cause everything to tip. It’s always that last tiny bean. A lot of times I refer to the final frustration of a day as “the last bean.” My husband used to correct me, saying that the phrase is, “the last straw.” Now he knows what I mean. It’s nothing really tragic that causes me to feel down or throw up my hands in frustration. It’s just a series of little beans and one final little one that tips the whole bucket of the day.
I’ve written about this before on my other blog. But tonight, when I was typing in the Daddy Long Legs quote, I thought that maybe I’ve relaxed a bit. I can’t remember the last time I really let those beans get to me. I might be developing the kind of spirit that can add humor to the petty hazards of the day.
And, in the end, it’s also those little one-at-a-time beans that build you up too. The meals you eat together, the way your two-year-old looks like a little man for a split second before he spills cheese sauce on a nice shirt, how excited kids still get about counting the cars of the train that has you stuck. It’s the people you love hundreds of miles away that you can miraculously communicate with, the sweet stuff that is sometimes sticky, and the baby you would rock even if the chair squeaked you right into the asylum because his hairs curl around his neck just so when he snuggles.