So this morning I walk into the kitchen at 5:20a.m. Don’t even ask me how long the rest of my nocturnal crew has been awake. I see my husband, Mark, standing in front of the island sink. He is absent-mindedly spraying the sink basin with Pam cooking spray. He does this for approximately 10 seconds as I silently watch with perplexity. Next he returns the Pam to the pantry and pulls out his carton of Egg Beaters. After a few violent shakes, he opens the carton and proceeds to pour several servings of Egg Beaters down the drain to follow the Pam cooking spray. At this point, I am finding it hard to keep quiet.
So I say, in a less than kind tone, “What the hell are you doing? Why would you waste food like that?” I am irritated, and yes a bit concerned, that during the night he has lost or hopefully only misplaced some of his mental faculties. He looks up and simply says, “I’m making my breakfast.”
Now Mark enjoys a good joke and has never missed an opportunity to tease, toy with, or good-naturedly yank my rather easily accessible chain. But at this point, I am not amused. We are working hard to make ends meet. We are living sparsely, avoiding waste and trying to maintain a cash only spending regiment. Why would someone in that position carelessly spill an entire meal down the drain?
“What is seriously wrong with you?” I ask more with bewilderment than ire. “Nothing,” he retorts, still standing over his eggless creation in the sink. At this point, I’m taking into consideration the possibility that he has had some type of brain aneurism and can no longer be held responsible for his behavior. I quickly move towards him to catch him in case he topples over from the force of the bursting vessel within his brain. But as I get to him, I see that sitting on the bottom of the sink is his microwave egg-cooker, filled with plenty of Pam and two servings of Egg Beaters. He, of course, is snickering madly. He picks up his cooker, places it in the microwave and turns it on for 1:30 seconds.
“Why did you do that?” I continued my interrogation despite his giggles and snorts. “It’s more efficient,” he explained. “I don’t get Pam all over the counter and if I spill any of the Egg Beaters, I just turn on the faucet and clean the sink.”
I had to admit that did actually make a lot of sense. But from my perspective across the room, watching his actions was like watching an inane rerun of The Three Stooges. But then it hit me; that is truly what life is about. (Not watching inane reruns of The Three Stooges.) Life is about how we each view the world from our unique vantage points. Thus our challenges in life, our relationship difficulties, our negative attitudes are only as accurate as we allow them to be. If we change our perspective, by say walking across a room, or bending down, or climbing a few rungs of a metaphorical ladder, we may actually see the entire world differently. That’s an enormous realization.
When we argue with people or when someone close to us hurts us, it’s so easy to accuse, condemn and vilify whomever has done us wrong. But maybe we’re not really seeing the full picture. Maybe what appears to be careless or random idiocy is really thoughtful and considerate conduct. Maybe if we shift our mental or emotional viewpoint we will see that the situation is vastly different from our original interpretation. And maybe, just maybe, we too will find ourselves laughing at misconceptions that never actually even existed.