Saturday, July 12, 2008

Control what you can

Tuesday night we went to bed early looking forward to a good night's sleep only to be awakened around 11:00 to the sound of sirens; a car was on fire in our backyard. A 17 year old boy had taken his Grandmother's car for a joy ride without her consent. Driving recklessly he hit a tree on our lot line causing the car to spin out of control and come to a stop in our yard. According to witnesses, he was very lucky; the car went up in flames only seconds after he escaped. Also, based on the car’s damage it is a miracle he was not seriously injured.

Unfortunately, the life lesson in this situation appears to have been lost on the boy. His comment to the first officer arriving on the scene was, "That was so cool!" According to this officer, neither the boy nor his Grandmother has insurance; his father is in prison, at 17 he already has a record and is most likely headed for a life of crime himself.

In the incident’s aftermath, we are left with a mess in our backyard and will most likely lose our tree. We could easily be angry about this situation; the last thing we want to do on a humid Saturday afternoon is pick up charred auto parts and small pieces of glass.

I am reminded of the advice a friend received from her father when her parked car was damaged by a hit and run driver, “Incidents like this are going to happen in life. You are wasting your time getting upset. I know it is a hassle and the extra expense is unfair, but concentrate on controlling what you can, your attitude. Then get the car fixed and move on.”

Items I have gotten upset about in the past, but cannot control:
1. Other people. Their perceptions, problems, thoughts and actions.
2. The weather.
3. The economy.
4. Hassles such as travel delays, poor service or traffic.

Items I can control:
1. My thoughts and actions.
2. How I spend my free time.
3. Who I spend my free time with.
4. How I spend my money.
5. What I eat.
6. My appearance.

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