Looking Up

Jim Carrey, 'The Grinch'

On my errands this week, I was just about to get out of the car when I looked up. In my rearview mirror, two women threw their arms wide open, sang that strange sound that reminds me of a violin being tuned, ran to each other and embraced as if they’d been separated for many years. I warmed at their loving energy and watched for a moment as they held each other at arms-length while rapidly catching up. Even with my windows closed I managed to hear how well one was doing after having been hospitalized.

And then He showed up to spoil it.

Five sharp horn blasts came from a Grinch of a man, angry that the women were blocking his path. Killjoy. They stepped aside to let him pass to the handicap space where he climbed from his big Buick as able-bodied as anyone. Before marching to the store, he tossed them a pinched glance as if to say, “Take your sickening happiness somewhere else.”

This didn’t bother the women nearly as much as it did me. They resumed their gushing.

I followed The Grinch inside.

He browsed unhurried while I asked myself why he’d hit such a nerve. Didn’t take me long to remember.

In my younger days, what seems like another lifetime, I was The Grinch.

Oh, I never laid on my horn to break up happiness, but I know that I’d thought about it. Even waved The Finger that I’d overheard from a five-year-old just yesterday, “ . . . means you hate God.”

Yeah. I hated everyone back then.

My life had gone in an undesirable direction – for 25 years! And I had no idea how to change any of it.  Happiness was so foreign it spoke might as well have spoken Mandurian.

It took losing everything in a fire to snap me out of it. I can look back now and be grateful for the catastrophe that burned my old life to ash. My old life had died in the fire and I got to be at my own funeral. It cleaned my slate, reset my hard drive, and opened the door to a fresh start. Because when you hit bottom, there is only one direction: Up.

Had it not been for that I might still be a Grinch, stomping around everyone else’s happiness without ever finding my own.

So I said a little “Thank You” to Mr. Grinch for reminding me that today I can only look up.






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