Tag Archives: optimism

Desperately Seeking Silver Linings

Things never seem to go as planned. The universe has an uncanny way of throwing things off no matter how hard we try to keep them under control. As adults, everywhere we look we see things that didn’t go the way we expected. Sometimes the new course is good but more often it seems bad; jobs are lost, relationships end, people get sick and loved ones die. At the same time, we can be so focused on the path we think we should be on that we lose sight of the other possibilities around us.

At times the curveball the universe throws seems completely wrong and is too much to bear, but there may be reasons for it. Sometimes we will be able to see those reasons for ourselves but more often than not, I think they impact other people in ways we may never know. It’s funny how something as trivial as a shrunken sweater can remind a person of all this.

As children, the world is wide open and full of possibilities. That magical time is often short-lived because too soon, they learn that the world can be hard and mean. But before that happens, anything is possible and one woman’s sweater disaster can become a new treasure:

Photo by Daniel Soderstrom, Photographerdaniel.com

I’m not saying that a shrunken sweater is the equivalent of job loss, death, illness or the other serious steps life takes us on. But I am saying that sometimes good can come from bad and that we can learn a lot from children. Seeing this photo of my friend’s daughter wearing the sweater I destroyed fills me with such joy, I want to ruin all my clothes to see more moments like this. It also reminds me to look for the good in the bad because as simple as it sounds, sometimes you can find silver linings in the darkest of moments. But in those darkest of moments, we have to remember to look  and that the world is still full of possibilities.

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. – Alexander Graham Bell

A Symbol of Survival

I admit it, I’m sick of the cold. I’m tired of the tiny red number on my cell phone mocking me with the temperature and weather advisory associated with it. I’m tired of worrying that I’ve gotten exposure from not being bundled to the max on a quick jaunt outside. I’m really tired of having to rescue poor Danny who rushes outside jubilantly and then suddenly freezes up, unable to take a step when he realizes how cold the pavement is.

What I needed was a symbol. Something to focus on that would send me the reminder that I am a hardy Minnesotan. While this has been the coldest winter I’ve known, it would not get the best of me. It will become the winter of legends and I will be the victor. But what could that symbol be?

As my car slid into yet another intersection, I saw it out of the corner of my eye. The subtle statement of the snow dweller, the gesture that we can all identify with:


Yes, the shovel jammed triumphantly in the snow bank after the snow removal. Anyone who has shoveled a walk knows the satisfaction of jamming that shovel in a snowbank when complete. As I crept down icy streets, I started to see more and more of them, a symbol of our solidarity as we pushed through the seemingly endless weeks of wind chills and subzero temperatures. We would see the end of this, we would be the victors – we were Minnesotans, hear us roar!

Now. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you the dismay I felt when I got home to find my own snow shovel laying on the sidewalk, blown out of the snowbank I myself had jammed it into. I stood staring, it laid at my feet… but then the cold wind started creeping through my mittens, icy snow bits blew in my face and I knew what I had to do. Chin up and shoulders back, I picked that shovel up and jammed it right back into the snowbank.