The Death of (Most) Problems

I’m trying to get my kids out the door to get to camp on time.  We’re running behind.I look at the clock.  Rats!  There is no avoiding that they’re going to be at least ten minutes late.

“Oh the horror!”  I mean, who cares?  It’s ridiculous, right?

Yet I do care to a certain extent, because I like to be organized and on the ball and all that.

Being late feels sloppy to me and I don’t like sloppy.

Plus, I feel it’s disrespectful to keep people waiting.

Clearly, I bring a lot of baggage to being late.

So we’re dashing to camp (though not breaking any laws) and I’m chronically apologizing to the kids about their impending tardiness.

Meanwhile, they don’t mind.  It’s camp after all, not school. Heck, they’re just psyched it’s summer.

“It’s okay, Mom,” they reassure me.

As I find myself getting wrapped up into what really amounts to a minuscule issue, I remind myself to apply a simple criteria I devised to quickly prioritize and often resolve problems (no matter how big or small they may be).

I ask myself two questions (they may sound dramatic, but they snap me out of my agita every time).

1.) “Am I going to be thinking about this situation on my death bed?”

2.)  “Is this potentially life-threatening?”

Basically, I jump ahead to death and work backward.

Then the answers are invariably and mercifully an emphatic “no” to #1 and, thankfully, most of the time, it’s “no” to #2 too (though tragically, not always).

It’s easy for me to answer “no” to #1, because what really matters in life are the people we love, not the problems and challenges we face each day.

It’s not going to be one of my big life regrets that my kids were late for camp in the summer of 2011.

When we’re on our death beds (metaphorical or otherwise), we are only going to be thinking about the profound love we have shared with one another… not the fight over whose turn it was to gas up the car.

We are also not going to be wasting our last breaths on the laundry we resented folding, the traffic we were forced to sit in, that jerk who just cut us off, or the bills we had to pay (“f*** ing taxes!”).

We’re not even going to dwell on the bigger stuff: when we were unfairly fired, betrayed by someone we thought to be a close friend or partner, or the acts of a cruel and unconscious parent.

What we are going to be focusing on is the love we created.

That’s all.

None of the other stuff will be relevant when we get to the end.

Only love will be present.

This love will transcend all fear, regret, and anger.

It is the true substance of our souls.

The rest?  Just details.


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