“Sorry to give you bad news,” the insurance adjuster said. “You’re not covered for surface water.”
I blurted out, “That’s not bad news; that’s tremendously disappointing news. Bad news is if one of my kids got hurt.”
I’m sharing this with you because this was a trying situation in which I applied one of my anti-aging action steps — choose how to respond — and it worked again!
Here’s what happened: two days before I left for a three-week trip, late in the afternoon, there was a gigantic hail storm at my house, with hail the size of mothballs. The noise was deafening and since I had never experienced anything like this before, I gleefully took photos.
Meanwhile, downstairs where my bedrooms and office are, rainwater was pouring in through a closed window and I didn’t discover it until there was an inch and a half of water covering all the floors.
(The first story of my house is half underground and runoff from the nearby mountain heads straight for my bedroom.)
I put on rubber-soled shoes, waded into the water, shut down the circuit breakers and called 911 and some good friends who live nearby. Then I began bailing out while saying: “Something good will come of this,” over and over.
Even though it’s not yet an ingrained habit, repeating that affirmation is how I choose to respond anytime I have a challenge. It keeps me from freaking out while I take appropriate action and there’s always something good that comes along if I stay open and allowing.
Three friends and two men from our fabulous volunteer fire department showed up and went to work with a shop vac and all my towels. Throughout the cleanup I continued saying, “Something good will come of this,” and kept my sense of humor, helped by the others and their can-do spirit.
I just took it in my stride when one neighbor said, as I was helping move furniture around, “You’re strong and spry — and you’re no spring chicken.”
Well … actually I huffed back, “I am so a spring chicken.”
He murmured, “Oh, right. Sorry.”
Well, the floors (just put in last October) are ruined but it could have been far worse. Thank God I hadn’t already left on my trip to England and France.
And thank God I had the presence of mind to turn off the circuit breakers. And thank God our neighborhood is loving and caring.
And thank God our fire department responds so quickly. Our chief was just awarded “Fire Chief of the Year” for the whole country and no wonder!
I’m still saying, “Something good will come of this,” because when I arrived home I saw that mice had chewed a hole in the French doors in my dining area and left evidence of a big party and their friends had chewed the wires leading to the sensors on my garage door opener; I’m spending half of each day hunting for things that have disappeared, and my kitchen faucet just started leaking.
So I’m staying open for good things to come my way. I got an unexpected check in the mail today for $111.29, and we’ll see what else happens.
If you find yourself with a challenge, say, “Something good will come of this.”
Put it on an index card if that helps, place it on your kitchen counter and remember what John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Yep.
Or perhaps you’ll like what Mark Twain had to say even better: “Life is one damn thing after another.”
Just keep in mind, no matter what happens, you can choose how you respond.
Ellen Wood of Questa is a speaker and award-winning author of “Think and Grow Young: Powerful Steps to Create a Life of Joy.” Contact her at email@example.com.