The best thing that happened to me today

Life is busy. I know that is probably the most obvious statement you’ve read today, but sometimes, I just have to say it out loud to validate my stress–life is busy!

For this reason, this year has been especially frenetic for me.  Ever since we went back to school in September, I’ve been behind a perpetual eight-ball. Or, for a more accurate (though less poetic) metaphor, I’m Indiana Jones, and that giant, Raiders of the Lost Ark bolder is rolling faster than I can run.  I spend my days rushing from thing to thing, task to task–from report cards to concerts, to lessons, to church, to the grocery store, to coffee–it never stops!  Welcome to 21st century American life, right?

I say this not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but because I know a lot of you are in the same boat. You know.  You get it.  You’re probably making a mental to-do list right now.  So, I’ll say it again.

Life. Is. Busy.

And when things get busy, I put on blinders, stick my nose to the grind stone, and just push. I don’t think, I don’t pause, and I certainly don’t stop–because I don’t want to break down crying at all there is to do and get even further behind.  I just have to keep going.  In my mind, there is no other way to survive.

So when my brother got on the phone tonight and said, “Emily, tell me the best thing that happened to you today,” I stopped short.

He didn’t ask, “How was your day?”, “What are you up to?” or even “Tell me about your day.”  Nope.  “Tell me the best thing that happened to you today.”

When I get busy, I get negative.  My whole life revolves around the things I “didn’t“–the time I didn’t get to spend on something because there wasn’t any time.  The millions of things I didn’t check off my to-do list. The run I didn’t go on.  The recycling I still didn’t actually take out. The sleep I didn’t get.

Being negative is easy.

So when my brother asked me that, I really had to stop.  Despite all the frantic busy-ness of the day, there was a lot of good.  My 7th graders gave their class piano recitals, and everyone survived.  My 8th grade choir sounds beautiful and they can tell. I had good conversations about “real stuff” with some of my friends.  The ukulele club I run is full of kids who are geeking out on music and it’s marvelous.  The new dish I tried for dinner worked. There is good–so much good!

It was a humbling moment for me.  I can be so selfish and narrow.  I’m quick to reduce my life to the empty dollars-and-cents of checklists and “have-to’s,” and I completely brush off the incredible little blessings that litter the path I walk.  Real Life isn’t easy (as I’m fond of telling my students who are in a rush to grow up, “Adulting is hard,”) but it is beautiful.  You just have to look for it.

“Tell me the single best thing that happened to you today.”  Tell me, and remind yourself, of the beauty in the life you’re living, the shimmering moments of wonderful–even in the chaotic messiness of Real Life.  Because the light shines brightest where the darkness is deepest.  And hope rises above a sea of despairs.

So tell me.

Tell me the single best thing that happened to you today.


10 thoughts on “The best thing that happened to me today

  1. So happy I found this post! I, too, can fall into a negative slump. It is very easy to think of all the things I “didn’t” do, or that “didn’t” happen. The single best thing that happened to me today: I sat with my students and read silently with them for Read Across America Day. Thank you for sharing your slice. 🙂

    1. Sharing the joy of reading IS a wonderful moment! Keep up the good work–you make a difference! 🙂

  2. i ask my son this every day, and every sunday night, we talk about the best part of the weekend, but it was never something that i intentionally framed like that, so thanks for pointing out that it should be intentional! it’s easy to focus on the didn’ts. i’m going to try this with my students soon.

  3. I can relate to everything in your post. I have been so caught up in the busy-ness of life, I quite honestly have forgotten how to enjoy life. I absolutely love your brother’s question. What a perfect way to slow it all down and focus on the beautiful things that truly matter. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I flexed my creative muscle in writing my second #sol17 post. Experiencing gratification in finding just the right words (and accepting yes I need to percolate on what I write prior to hitting the publish bottom. ) Enjoying reading others #sol17 posts.
    Thanks for being part of the community.
    My take away from your post is that I want to check in with my students on a regular basis in regards to the best part of their day. It is a form of mindfulness which we can all benefit from.

  5. The struggle is real! You put it perfectly. I know I’m so grateful for the people in my life that help me to re-frame my negative mindset. I love how you punctuated this piece. You created such a fluid, conversational voice that made your single lines stand out even more. Beautiful and insightful writing!

  6. Love this post! As I examine my current situation and take concrete actions to make some changes, I have to stop at the moment of thinking that the grass is going to be greener on the other side. I have to stop and stay in the present. Enjoy the moment. Do what I have to do and then, let go. The universe is waiting. Enjoy!

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