Oh, I am so glad my little girl is home from her happy slumber party at my mom and dad’s house! All of us are together again, the way we should be.

Little Katie was a tired girl when she got home. She stayed up late chatting the secret words of grandmothers and granddaughters cuddled together under the big canopy bed. They had a rollicking time for almost twenty-four hours: coloring, imagination play, putting on make-up, baking, reading, and more. She was tired and loved.

Our Katie is asleep now in her cozy chair in her room—she fell asleep as I was printing out our tax organizer for our CPA. I think I could have fallen asleep, too… Anyway, she still is slumbering, regaining energy for our weekly movie night no doubt!

At the beginning of our printing project, Katie was playing with some of her figures on the playroom table. I heard something fall, a bit of a muted thud on the carpeted part of the floor. Hm. I assumed it was just one of her heavier characters (maybe the Queen of Hearts)…but whatever it was, I said, “Oops, can you pick that up please so Eric doesn’t get it?”

That’s when I saw the tears in her eyes. It wasn’t a character…she’d actually dropped something breakable, and it was indeed broken, the glass shattering as it hit one of the wooden chairs on the way down. “Do you love me anyway?” Of course I do, Katie. I comforted her and told her, “That’s too bad, sweetie.” She was so tired that I should have seen mishaps coming, but we were trying our best to get settled for the evening.

She asked, “Are you mad, mama?” In truth, I really wasn’t. I said, “No, sweetie, I am sad for you. Sad it broke.” While my printer ran out of paper on page eleven of eighteen, I went for the vacuum. We haven’t had too much of a chance to debrief yet, but when we have a quiet moment alone together tonight, this is what I want to tell her:

As I vacuumed, thankful that vacuuming is a meditative state for me, I thought about how every event that happens can be totally good, totally bad, or a little of both. As Shakespeare writes in Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Experiences just are. It is what we do with those experiences that matters. Who knows the result of the breaking of the object? It might seem negative on the surface, but perhaps some good arises from its ripples. Perhaps it sent me on a vacuuming bender, during which I picked something up off of the floor that might have harmed Eric, like a pin I couldn’t see. Perhaps it will make me move something around to its place on the bookshelf, something which could have fallen from somewhere else and hurt one of the children. Perhaps it will lead to a good discussion about looking at life with an open heart, between me and my daughter. There are a thousand or more ripples that action could produce…We cannot look at it as just one unhappy moment. It is part of the whole…

We embrace it with peace.

Why struggle against it? Or wish that we had it back? Why wander down those paths, when we can look for where the beauty is?

I use this way of thinking, especially when I am driving. Sometimes I am the slowpoke; sometimes I am behind a slowpoke. Sometimes,  I get cut-off and have to put on the brakes. So many potential frustrations. But why? What if that car going 30 mph in a 45 zone is slowing us down for a reason? What if it means that I won’t be in the position to be in an accident fifteen minutes later? Who can guess?

I try to think this way when I am in line, especially at the grocery store. All we can do is observe. Observe and be ready, ready and willing to see the life that exists beyond ourselves. I seek to break my bad habits, my habits of being reactive and thinking time and life should be about me and my schedule or my sense of anything.

My vacuuming ended in Katie’s room, when looking up I saw what was probably the best representation of all I had just been pondering. I saw rain coming down in the midst of utter sunshine. In fact, I had to do a double-take. Was it raining? It was so bright and sunny right at that moment. I actually thought my dad might be outside with the hose, watering up at the window for some reason—that’s how odd it seemed. But yes, it was raining against a perfect sunlit backdrop.

All I could think was: dual nature.

There is a dual nature to every action or experience. What we perceive as good or as bad events may in fact be more closely wound together than we think. In fact, every once in awhile, I glimpse a moment of feeling those good and bad events merge together as one. They just are.

A few seconds later, standing by another window on the opposite side of the house, Bill called out that there was a huge rainbow in the sky. I often call Katie “my rainbow hunter”—she finds them everywhere, has an eye for them. She sees them in mirrors, in reflections on the wooden floors. She has a child’s sense of where that beauty is, and she always shares them with me in her excitement. Oh this one was a perfect rainbow, one of the best we’ve ever seen together. It was a big deal. We could see the whole spectrum so clearly defined, a perfect arch breaking through the clouds.

We went outside to see it, barefooted, eager. Down lower, we could only see part of it, not the whole thing as we could from upstairs. Our perspective had changed. Dual nature.

There is joy in the breaking, and in the putting together again.

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