Preschool, Pizza, and Perspective
Two heart-warming stories. One important message.
The Case of the Disgruntled Preschooler
When I arrived at the gym this morning, it was wet and cold.
As is often the case, there were parents unloading preschoolers and shuttling them into the adjoining school.
Today, however, there was one little girl who got my attention.
As she got out of the car and experienced the harsh winter weather, she started crying. Her mom, simultaneously juggling a baby in a stroller and trying to comfort her young daughter, said, "Well, honey, just keep walking and we'll be in the warm building soon."
The little girl – while walking with her mom in the direction of the warm building – claimed even louder and said, "NO! We'll never get in the building!"
As I brushed by this young family, I could not help but chuckle. Here was the little girl walking toward her goal – her target within view – and yet, she could not see it. All she could see was the wind and the cold and the wet snow around her making her miserable.
The Case of the Misdirected Pizza
It had been a long, cold day, and I did not feel like getting up from under the warm blanket. Cooking dinner was unthinkable. The solution? One quick call to Domino's, and a warm meal would be on its way.
I lumbered to the kitchen and made the call.
Ah. Mission accomplished. Back to the warm blanket.
Twenty-five to forty minutes later, the food arrived, and I herded the children into the dining room. We gave thanks, cracked open the box, and … horrors! The pizza was not what we ordered!
Perhaps we would not be so upset except for this simple fact: we are vegetarians, and what was sitting on our table was a dead pig. They had put ham on our pizza! Blech.
I called Domino's. Surely they would make everything all right.
Unfortunately, the woman on the phone seemed confused. I had to explain the situation several times. She was irked that my voice rose every time I had to explain again.
They would send the correct pizza.
Twenty-five to forty minutes later, the second set of pizzas had still not arrived, and I was due at my neighbor's house any minute. I had no choice but to call Domino's and tell them to deliver it to a different address.
I called, and again, I was faced with having to explain the situation multiple times. Again the lady was irked that my voice continued to rise.
I arrived at my neighbor's house furious and frazzled. I knew my neighbor would not be home, but I was meeting a mutual friend there for an evening of crafts and conversation. I ran in and quickly explained what a rotten day I had had and apologized for being late. My friend was very gracious, of course, and waited while I went back to the car to get my things – including the meat-tainted pizza. I could not keep it in my house, so I planned to give it away.
When I walked in with the boxes, my friend looked at them and nearly beaten. "You bought food?" she said. "Yes," I explained, "this pizza is why I am so upset.
She looked at me and paused. Tears wailed up in her eyes and she said, "I can not believe you bought pizza."
I was a little stunned at her reaction. After all, I had not quite recovered from my irritation at the situation. The correct pizzas still had not arrived, so I was distracted by my determination to remain mad at Domino's. Why was she reacting this way?
Suddenly I had a realization, and I said, "Are you why this happened to me?"
She looked at me almost ashamed and embarrassed – she had prayed for pizza.
It turns out that she had ordered pizza for her husband and house guests, but she did not get to eat any. It had arrived just as she was leaving, and she did not want to be late to meet me. She had planned on going hungry.
Now it was my turn to be accused and embarrassed. How dare I be upset when I know that everything happens for a reason. Oh, how I was kicking myself at my base ingratitude for the situation. I did not know the pizza would bless Sandi, but I could imagine that it would bless someone.
It seems in retrospect that much if not all of our frustration in life comes from a lack of perspective.
The little girl only saw what was right in front of her – not where she was headed. I got a wrong pizza and only saw how bad it was for me – not how much good would come out of it.
It reminds me of the fly who is so focused on pushing through the glass that he does not notice there is an open window right next to him.
Oh how much of our frustration can be eliminated just by looking at the big picture – seeing from a distance! Seeing that the effort a butterfly must exert when pushing out of his chrysalis makes his wings sturdy and strong. Seeing that the trials we go through make us stronger, too.
Seeing that despite the wind and cold, we really are headed toward a warm building.