Choosing Joy: Laugh and Clean It Up

by Michelle Acker on March 24, 2011

in Learning the Art of Living

I had a thought provoking moment today. We have a large plastic pitcher than we use to fill the water bowl outside for our dog. We take it to the sink, fill it, and then carry it outside to fill his bowl. The handle on this pitcher that we’ve been using for years has come off at the bottom, and is now only attached at the top. It’s been like this for a month or so. Maybe longer.  And everyday my husband says, “You know, that’s going to break one of these days….” and I say, “I know, but we’re careful to hold the bottom of the pitcher too, so if it does break it’s no big deal.” And my oldest is very careful about doing this. He always holds it from the bottom AND the handle.

Today, my oldest was out playing, and I went to give the dog some fresh water…  Can you see where this is going?  Yep, you bet!  I turned away from the sink, took one step and S=p-l-oooooo-sh-!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My kitchen floor is flooded with about a gallon of water….and the pitcher is bouncing in the puddle.

So, what’s so thought provoking about that? (other than why am I so lazy as to not get a new pitcher sooner?) Well, as it happens, just as I turned away from the sink, the Sweet Girl who is visiting us was walking into the kitchen toward me, and she saw it all happen.  Her eyes got wide, and I could see that she wanted to laugh, but was A) trying not to be rude, and B) not sure if I was going to be upset over the mess.   She’s really such a sweetie.  Anyway, there really wasn’t any point in doing anything but laugh.  How could I get mad at something I knew was going to happen and did nothing about?   So I busted out laughing.  And she looked at me surprised and let her own laughter bubble out too.  We laughed and laughed, and then I said, “Sometimes all you can do is laugh and clean it up!”.

A few minutes later, I was cleaning up my mess, Sweet Girl was still giggling, and she quoted back at me, “Like you said, sometimes all you can do is laugh and clean it up.  No point getting upset.”   And that made me think how grateful I was to have reacted that way.  It might have been different on another day.  I might have gotten mad and wanted to swear a blue streak in my head, or stomped around and thrown a fit, or fallen apart into tears. But this day, I was able to see the joy in making a gigantic mess.  I am thankful for the joy and the laughter and the mess, because it’s probably something we both won’t soon forget, and it’s a positive, though messy, memory.  I am thankful that in my choosing joy that moment, Sweet Girl saw an example of how to react with a positive attitude to a negative situation.

It all made me think, shouldn’t we be always trying to choose joy?  Shouldn’t we be working on practicing the skill of choosing joy over fits, or tears, or drama, or other negativity?  It is a skill, after all.  Something we need to practice because it doesn’t come naturally to any of us.  But wouldn’t it be such a nicer world if we all practiced choosing joy?  If we all decided when faced with an unwanted situation to just laugh, find the joy, clean it up, and move on?

I know there are many areas in my life where I want to be practicing choosing joy more often.  How about you?

Is there a negative, unwanted thing going on in  your life where you could Choose JOY?

Looking for more thought provoking posts?  I’m linking up to:

Thought Provoking Thursdays at

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

SomeGirl March 24, 2011 at 12:42 PM

What a GREAT thought and example for that sweet girl (and us)! Thanks for sharing this (and for linking up)! Love you! (Be right over for tea.) 🙂

Michelle March 26, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Thanks for coming for tea and helping me BREATHE…. Truly one of my most JOY-ful parts of this week. Thank you, dear friend!

Mary March 24, 2011 at 12:46 PM

I usually find myself getting upset over this stuff because I am in a hurry and have put too much (self imposed) stress on day!!! This is a good reminder!

Michelle March 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM

That’s usually one of my problems too. I self-impose too many to-do’s in a day, and then am irritable and frustrated, which makes it harder to choose JOY. You are not alone!

Stacy @ Delighting in the Days March 29, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Yay for you! And it’s so nice that you were immediately rewarded for your good behavior with a lovely comment from your daughter 🙂

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