Good or Bad? – Thinking Makes It So!

“there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” –Shakespeare, ‘Hamlet’

I’m not a Pollyanna person who can look at another person suffering, and then just smile at how wonderful life is.  I just acknowledge the truth of what is, and if it’s something I don’t like, I try to maintain enough awareness to think creatively about what I can do to help alleviate that person’s suffering. What’s good about the situation? I feel good about the opportunity to help a fellow human. I try not to waste a lot of time making up stories about who’s to blame. Perhaps, later I might spend do some creative thinking to assess how such situations might be prevented. But, for the moment, my full awareness is best applied to solving the problem of this person in front of me.

I’m writing this while waiting for my car to be repaired. I had planned this to be a short visit to Home Depot. But while crossing the causeway about 2 miles from my home, lots of smoke started billowing from the hood of my 2003 Hyundai. I pulled over immediately, shut off the engine and assessed situation. After a short time, smoke cleared and I opened the hood, just long enough to realize something had bust and sprayed water over engine. Tried engine again, which started, so I drove slowly over bridge and continued to “Tires Plus” just before smoke started again. Waiting to hear mechanic’s diagnosis, I tried my best to practice mindfulness exercises. After being told the need for over $700 in repairs, I didn’t see many viable options.

So, it’s about 2 hours later and I’m waiting on a shady bench outside large shopping mall parking lot, after buying a writing pad at Publix. What’s good about situation??? It’s a beautiful day.  Nice breeze, and I’ve got time to express my thoughts on paper.

On the walk to the mall, I stopped along the way to look more closely at a beautiful yellow dandelion. But when I put on my reading glasses for a closer look, I noticed the flower had damaged spots on its petals — not quite as beautiful as when my flawed vision filled it the blind spots. And its surrounding area had lots of mite-sized insects.

Moved on by a computer repair shop I had never noticed before in this otherwise familiar area. Went inside, discovered lots of used computer stuff, services for which I might have a future need, and a great place to recycle years of the electronic clutter in my house. Also, had interesting conversation with clerk sharing our experiences with the growth of computers over the last 50 years. He had learned Fortran and Cobol in classes at FIT. I explained that I had been part of a group discussion on what “words” should be used in COBOL (Common Business Language for computer programmers) about 60 years ago.

But back to the “Good & Bad” of any situation. Due to age-related dementia, last month I got mixed up with dates for the Florida Pre-Burn, and ended up driving 2 hours to Lakeland a full week before it opened.  I quickly realized I was not going to spend a lot of time beating myself up with stories about why this shouldn’t have happened. Instead, I assessed the reality of the situation (I’m in Lakeland!), and what’s good about that.

Well, I remembered that Lakeland was the home of Florida Southern University, which has the largest ‘collection(?)’ of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world, and is reputed to have the most beautiful campus in the country.  I had briefly started studying architecture at collage in the 50’s, and Wright was (and still is) considered one of the best architects in the world. Some 30 years ago I had visited the chapel he designed there, but had often entertained the idea of revisiting — particularly since Aaron had told me he was considering studying architecture in college.  Also, my good friend, Roy Lykes, had a relative for whom Wright had built on the top of a hill outside Phoenix. I had seen often from afar when I lived there. Also, I had known Ethel Marden and Wright’s site architect, when Ethel and her husband Luis were having their Wright home built near Chain Bridge in Virginia overlooking the Potomac.  Got to visit it several times while being built, as well as when complete. But never got to meet Luis, who seemed to constantly be on long, long trips for the National Geographic. I still enjoy looking at pictures of these homes on the Internet. One can easily Google them for ‘Lykes home’ and ‘Marden home’. Gorgeous structures with beautiful views!

Anyway, the ‘mistake’ turned out to be a much appreciated detour in my life. And I would cast my vote for FL Southern’s campus being he most beautiful I have seen. Unfortunately, a private university and too pricey ($35K/yr) for Aaron. But would recommend his visiting, if only for a short time en-route to Tampa or St. Pete.

Walked back to “Tires Plus”, and paid almost $800 to get car back. Clouds seem to be moving in, but sun still out, and I’m still here!

So, if I knew that this day were the last day of my life, would I want to change something? STOP! NOT GOING THERE! “When I argue with reality, I lose! But only ‘always’!” – Byron Katie


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