Unexpected Consequences: the New Tablecloth

Unexpected Consequences:

Driftwood Dragon

Driftwood Dragon

With the new year comes a desire for a new look. To that end we’ve been talking about changing some of the art on our walls for some that is presently in storage. Although the furniture in our apartment needs to stay as it is, we figured we could freshen up its appearance in other ways. Toward that end we were walking through one of our favorite home goods stores checking out the merchandise when we came upon a sale table. On it were several dark blue tablecloths.

“One of these could be a nice for our dining table,” Stephen said. “How about one of these for our home for the new year?” Searching through the pile he found a round one. Checking it out I read on the packaging that material would not allow liquids to penetrate and would easily wipe up with a damp cloth. Deciding that this was a win/win situation, we brought it home and put it on the table. It looked splendid. I was curious to see if it would live up to its promises.

It did. The first time a few drops spilled on the cloth they beaded up and were easily blotted away. I was duly impressed. Several days later I tried sponging off the occasional spots that had occurred since, and they too came away relatively easily, leaving the cloth looking as pristine as ever. However I discovered one drawback: Being dark blue it also revealed the presence of all crumbs, bits of herbs and other mealtime sprinkles. If it is not cleaned off after a meal that produces any sort of small debris, the table looks messy.

Thinking about this I realized that life can be like that. Promises are often fulfilled as they are spoken and things work out as indicated, yet other factors I haven’t planned for or thought of may complicate matters. I’m not complaining, I often find it humorous when I have to cope with the unexpected results of what appears to be an improvement or an upgrade. Fortunately, the small dust buster vacuum I had purchased along with its big sister does a fine job on the crumbs. So that situation is not a big deal, just something I didn’t anticipate.

The lesson I took from this experience is that it is important to be flexible, and to not be concerned when the unplanned for experience arises. What often happens for people is that they focus on lamenting the difficulty rather than seek a solution. This attitude can be a result of what is termed the “victim mentality” or the “Oh poor me” syndrome.

What needs to be realized is that complaining only postpones the discovery of a solution because the focus is not on the resolution of the difficulty but on the difficulty itself. This attitude is a blind alley that leads nowhere. When my focus is correctly directed, most often I find a solution without much trouble. In this case the crumbs are nicely swept up with little effort and quickly disposed of. As my dear son Robin used to say, flexibility is the answer to so many problems, and I would add: correct focus.

Words and Image by Tasha Halpert

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