“It is easy to be heavy, hard to be light.” – G.K. Chesterton
I recently heard this quote, and absolutely cannot get it out of my head.
Why does it ring so true? Why do I feel like this is so applicable to my life and my behavior? Why do I find it so much less effortful to automatically react negatively to situations? Do other people feel this way as well? Do most people?
A few days ago, my boyfriend went to Publix (an amazing grocery store chain, for those of you not from the southeastern United States) to get some sandwiches for us for lunch. In my typical persnickety, particular fashion, I had my boyfriend write out exactly what I wanted on my sandwich, expecting that he would read my instructions verbatim to the sandwich maker.
A six inch ultimate sandwich, with pepperjack cheese, on whole wheat bread, toasted. Plus lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, green peppers, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Simple, right? Not at all demanding?
I stayed home with the baby while he went, but was already hungry, and really looking forward to my sandwich. It felt like he took forever to return. I was practically waiting at the window with the baby, watching for his car to pull into the driveway.
When he got back, he took out the two sandwiches, and I eagerly began to unwrap my half. Before I could even get the paper off I noticed a familiar yellow tinge bleeding through the white paper and my heart sank. I hate mustard on my sandwiches. My boyfriend noticed my unease and remarked disdainfully, “Yeah, I think she might have put mustard on one side.”
I was angry.
I was angry at the sandwich lady for what I assumed to be an inability to follow instructions. (Yes, probably very unfair).
But even more so, I was angry at my boyfriend. He must not have been paying attention when the lady was making the sandwich. He should have checked it for correctness before he paid. Doesn’t he KNOW that I don’t like mustard on my sandwiches?
I was pouting like a child. I withdrew into myself and tried to scrape the mustard off the bread, but my efforts were fruitless. The mustard had already soaked itself into the very fibers of the bun as mustard tends to do. I ripped the bread to pieces trying to remove the mustard, and ended up just toasting two slices of bread we had at home and putting the filling of my sandwich inside.
Of course during all this time, it was painfully obvious that my mood was soured. Over a sandwich. I was barely talking to my boyfriend as I indignantly ate my Frankenstein sandwich. Granted, even with switching out the bread, the sandwich was still delicious. It was just easier to be angry and place blame than it was to simply let it go.
It was easier to be heavy, than to be light.
My natural instinct was to be bitter about the sandwich, rather than to be grateful that my boyfriend had used his time (and money) to go get us lunch on a weekday – something that we normally never do. I finished the sandwich, which I had actually enjoyed very much, and gave my boyfriend a hug. I swallowed my stupid little pity party and decided to be light about the situation. I apologized for my behavior and thanked him for going to get the sandwiches for us. He wasn’t upset and the atmosphere of heaviness that had been in the air for the last 15 minutes or so cleared out completely. The atmosphere of heaviness that I had created.
I feel like we encounter so many moments each day, where things do not go exactly as we expect. In these moments we have a choice to make. It is easy to be heavy and let irritation or disappoint spoil your mood (and probably those of anyone around you). But I promise, you will be much happier if you take the little bit of extra effort and try to find the positivity in the situation.