I spotted a bumper sticker recently and was touched by its simple profoundness. It said, “Wag More…Bark Less.” What a perfectly worded message for living—one where we strive to find the pleasures rather than focusing on conflict and negativity. If we could let that thought permeate throughout our minds, we could subsist in a far more congenial society. As wise Solomon once said, (in that little way he had) “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
Fault-finding expeditions of others are an unnecessary exhaustive squandering away of our energy. It only leaves a blemish on our souls and the hearts of the recipients of your disapproving remarks. Would it not be more constructive to use our vigor to focus on the positive rather than the negative? It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown.
In her book, Balcony People, Joyce Heatherly described a shopping trip for jeans. Pair after pair was uncomfortable and tight. Finally, she found a pair that fit perfectly. She looked at the tag and noticed that they were 95% cotton and 5% spandex. She said, “Suddenly I knew why we have such a problem making allowances for others. We don’t have 5% spandex in our attitudes.”
We must have “spandexibility” in our lives. The elasticity factor of the mind will carry us far in life. Just remember that everyone has something positive about them that make them worth knowing. Let’s not cut ourselves off by selling people short without allowing them a chance.
Everyone deserves a chance at this party called “life” to be accepted and considered valuable. We are all flawed in some way or another; therefore, we aren’t qualified to be the judge of others. By keeping an open and accepting mind, soon we will see that everyone is worth knowing and enjoying and has value and worthiness in their own varying degrees.
My father was a pathologist and worked in a hospital lab. One part of his job was the diagnosing of tumors and tissues for possible malignancies. He stored “such things” in jars that were carefully labeled. When I was a teenager, I worked for him one summer. The job: throwing away tissue that had already been examined. The only occupational hazard I could see was the possibility of breathing in the formaldehyde fumes. I decided that I would just hold my nose and throw it away real, real fast. It was worth the risk for the whopping pay of 75 cents an hour. However, I was to only throw away the jars that were labeled up to 1974. My strict instructions were that I was to NEVER throw away anything after that date– sounded cinchy enough. Shortly thereafter, I made a “throwing away boo-boo” when I accidentally threw away a jar labeled 1975!! Ooops! How was I ever going to be able to tell my father what I had done? The fumes weren’t the occupational hazard– I WAS!
Sooo…that night I got up my nerve and told my father about my “throwing away faux pas.” I said, “Oh, Daddy, I threw away a 1975. I’m sooo sorry.” However, instead of barking… he wagged. He hugged me and with great spandexibility of the mind he said, “It’s alright. Don’t worry. There was no harm done. I just told you that to help you develop the skill of staying focused while in a work atmosphere in hopes that it could help you for future jobs. I love you!” And I loved him, too. And everything WAS alright.
My father used to send me powerful quotes each week while I was in college—just his way of continuing to quietly guide me. Here is one that I will share on the essence of “spandexibility.”
The House By the Side Of The Road
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by.
They are good, they are bad, they are weak,
They are strong, Wise, foolish—so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss
Hunter Darden-personalized copies of my books may be ordered by scrolling to the top of this page and clicking the link or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.