I had several errands to run, including picking up the decorations for a bridal shower I was to decorate for Friday evening. As I set out Friday morning, the decorations were the least of my worries. I had already scouted the store and picked out the items I wanted. All I had to do was purchase them. In addition, I had to find the tablecloths, but that was no big deal . . . or so I thought. I had no idea that finding round, plastic, white tablecloths was like finding a needle in a haystack. I went from store to store. Most only sold rectangular ones, but those that did sell the round ones sold them for three times the price and didn't have enough to meet my needs. In a panic, I called the lady who usually decorates for our church functions. "Where do you find round tablecloths?" I asked her. She referred me to a place and told me she was out running errands herself and had to go right by there. She offered to pick them up for me and drop them off at the church on her way home. Grateful for her assistance, I hung up the phone and muttered, "Finally!" A few minutes later, she called back to inform me that the store was out of white tablecloths. I felt like screaming!
And so the day went. I couldn't find what I needed. Nothing I wanted was on sale. I couldn't find a decent parking space to save my life. Straw. Straw. Straw. By the end of the day Friday, my camel was looking very weary! The funny thing is that I must have had fifty people during the course of the day say, "Hi, how are you doing?" Did they really want to know, or were they just being nice? Either way, I figured they didn't need to hear my poor, pitiful tale. Besides, I didn't think I could get through it time and time again. So, I gave my usual reply. "Fine." Now before you accuse me of being a liar, allow me to explain. When I said "Fine", others naturally assumed I meant that all was going well, but that's not at all what I meant. In her book, "From Clutter to Clarity," Nancy Twigg gives an excellent definition of "fine."
When people say "fine," what they really mean is that they are Frustrated, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted. Look around. . .We may not be neurotic, but many of us are running on fumes. Every day, we are stretched taught like a rubber band waiting to snap. Demands from our spouses, children, employers, friends, neighbors, and church--there never seems to be enough of ourselves to go around. In trying to please everyone, we end up depleted and depressed, overtaxed and overwhelmed.
So, time after time on Friday, I smiled my secret smile and said, "I'm fine," and I knew exactly what I meant. By Saturday, however, my attitude had caught up with me. I found myself suffering from the first migraine I've had in months, maybe even years. My head pounded. My stomach flip-flopped. My entire body felt like it was made of trembling jelly. I was too sick to enjoy the bridal shower I had decorated for, too sick to spend any time my my husband on his only day off , and too sick to rebuke myself for having such a lousy attitude.
My purpose in sharing this post with you today is to remind you of a powerful lesson. Not only it is wrong to have a bad attitude, but it's also painful. Bad attitudes create stress. Stress wreaks havoc on the body. You know the verse, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine"? Well, the opposite is true, as well. An angry heart doeth bad like a sickness. I don't know about you, but I suffer from enough health problems as it is. I don't wish to add any extra. So I need to watch my attitude.
Are you feeling fine today, or are you feeling F.I.N.E.? Be careful. I can assure you, you could feel much worse. I know I did!
Oh, one final word of advice. If you need round, plastic, white tablecloths for an event, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to find them. You'll be glad you did!
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. - Proverbs 4:23