Humans possess this wonderful ability to think and dream and wonder about our place in the world, but it’s a mixed blessing. While it enables us to plan and strive for something greater; it can also set us up at times to feel “less than” or like we’re missing out.
One way to avoid these feelings is to find joy in the everyday occurrences that we experience. I was reminded of this last week when I pulled into the grocery store parking lot at lunchtime. I was feeling a little grouchy that day, and as I got out of my car I noticed a gathering of nondescript brown birds hopping around the car that was parked in front of me.
Each of these birds had something bright and colorful in its beak. It looked odd enough that I had to get a closer look.
It turned out that someone had spilled a generous amount of rainbow-colored Goldfish crackers on the ground between 2 cars. These birds had discovered the jackpot for parking lot birds: tiny crackers!
While these birds are generally more tolerant of humans than others, this crew was so distracted by the colorful windfall that they were nonplussed by traffic and passing grocery carts.
I watched them for a few minutes and my mood lifted. These little birds were not comparing their lot in life with the pigeons across town, or the bald eagles featured on web cams, or even the cardinals in the park down the street: they were simply enjoying the heck out of the moment and those rainbow colored crackers.
Now I realize that birds don’t really think about things like that or have devices on which they watch webcams, but that does not negate the powerful lesson that emerged from that moment of bird joy.
Our lifetimes are made up of a (hopefully very long!) series of days. Some of these days are mundane while others are really big deals. Some days just happen in the way that days can, while others we plan for with great interest and attention. And still other days start out as just-another-day,…until someone spills rainbow Goldfish in the middle of the place and things instantly move from whatever to WOW!
This is life. When we learn to embrace the joy that accompanies the random blessings that show up in our lives, we soak up an energy that has the power to sustain us on the less than days, and even put a smile on our face when we’re grouchy.
Achieving happiness in life is really quite simple: the birds know it. We know it too, but sometimes need a little help to remember. And so it was only fitting that this wisdom reminder came to me in the middle of an otherwise average day, turning it into an extraordinary day – thanks to a posse of birds and some colorful crackers.