What is hiding behind that smile? Proceed with caution.

“How are we doing today?” The man asked, while dusting and cleaning the gas pump.

“We are doing so great today, I can’t stand it!” I replied enthusiastically and with a smile. In truth, I was cranky. Very cranky.  The day began with an unexpected and inconvenient change of plans. And, I was still reeling from a blow-up the previous night. I was tired, overwhelmed, unhappy and cranky.

“It is all in how you look at it. You can either choose to be happy or choose to be upset. People forget that all the time.” He said.

As I started filling my gas tank I said, “Yes, I agree. But, I think it is easier to grumble than it is to be happy.”

“You know,” he began, continuing to dust the gas pumps. “The other day my wife’s car broke down, so she had to borrow our son-in-law’s car. Well, while she had that car, she got a flat and called our son-in-law.” He continued, “When my son-in-law got there, he realized he didn’t have the things he needed to change the tire. They had to call a tow truck.”

“Oh gosh.” I said. I wasn’t sure where he was going with his story, but I was listening. Even though I was cranky, I have learned to keep my eyes and ears open to everything around me. I find I benefit from looking for and receiving positive messages that may take place during any given day. So, unbeknown to the gas station attendant, I was ready to receive his message. Plus, he reminded me of my Dad.

“Yeah. It was raining and cold, and they were starting to grumble and ask ‘why them’, etc. Then the tow truck arrived, and things changed. They found out the guy, who was in his 20s, was battling Cancer. He was upbeat, smiling and in a great mood. My wife and son-in-law realized getting caught in the rain with a flat tire wasn’t such a bad thing. They were humbled by the guy’s outlook on life.”

“Wow.” I said. Yeah. Just wow. I wasn’t sure what else to say.

I finished filling up my car with gas, and he finished cleaning the pumps around me. I waved, smiled and wished him well. And, he nodded his head, wishing me the same. As I got in the car, my son asked, “What did that man say to you?”

“He reminded me about that which is important in life.” I said.


The above is a good story, right? I mean, the man meant well, and I certainly appreciated his friendly reminder. Plus, I really liked the fact that he reminded me of my Dad. And though the conversation took place days ago, I keep replaying it my mind. The thing is – my reality, as of late, is filled with cancer and death. I am continually reminded of how my life is good and how things could be worse, as I watch various friends and family members mourn and battle illness.

Because of the constant stream of battles that are currently taking place around me, I wonder if I am becoming desensitized. When my friend’s Mom was in the midst of her Cancer battle, I told my friend I felt guilty bitching and moaning about my life, while she was dealing with things far more important. My friend, being the awesome Andrea HT, assured me that I need not feel guilty. But now? Now, I’ve gotten to the point when I meet a man at the gas pump, he shares a poignant story with me, I hear the story, I replay the story in my head, and I still walk around feeling cranky, testy and unhappy. And trust me when I say, those sharing a living space with me are feeling the affects of the aforementioned crankiness, testiness and unhappiness.

One of my cousins recently wrote about her perspective on the month of January in her post, “Just January“. She wondered how folks were doing on their resolutions for the new year. And, she expressed how January tends to leave her feeling a bit down. Maybe I am just dealing with a bit of the January blues. If that’s the case, as my cousin pointed out, there are less than two weeks left in January! That’s good news, eh?

I know I have so much for which to be thankful, and I am thankful for that which I have. Perhaps I should just chalk this period of puniness to exhaustion and hormones. Perhaps menopause is literally right around the corner for me. Perhaps I need to increase the dosage on my meds. Or perhaps – perhaps I just need to take a breath, rest my head and bask in the goodness of the day. Then again, I could just go eat a doughnut.


Be kind (I’m working on it), and take care of yourself and each other.

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