When one of my nearest and dearest is running late, I immediately assume they’ve been kidnapped and chopped into pieces. Because that’s usually what’s happened to people, right?
I wish I were kidding. I have an amazing imagination, just mind-bogglingly fantastical and out-there. I begin thinking through who needs to call whom to spread the word of this person’s death. I berate myself for not having bought a newish funeral outfit and having to wear something dowdy or tight. I wonder how I’ll feel years from now… will I ever have a sunny day again without this dear person?
And then they walk in the door, breezily shouting, “HI, I’m home,” and I think, “Oh, of course you are. You were just stuck in traffic.”
I heard author Brene Brown speak this year (which I really enjoyed). She asked for a show of hands in the audience as to whether there were others, like her (and me), who jump to similarly dire conclusions about loved ones. There was nervous laughter and not a few hands.
So here’s what I want to know: What if, in a time of uncertainty or concern, we changed the channel on our mind’s video stream, unlocked a new way of thinking? What if — for example — my husband was running late and I thought this, “Oh, I bet he ran into a friend in the parking lot at work. How fun. I bet they’ve gone for a beer to catch up and are planning a great adventure together. I bet they’re going somewhere cool. And I bet they’ll invite me to join them, and we’ll have a blast, and it’ll be the highlight of the year. How cool.”
That seems more productive. Or at least a better use of my thirty seconds. Or my brain and heart and my imagination.
I really do have a choice about these things. And besides, the chances of any of our friends or family being “chopped into pieces” is mercifully miniscule.