In a book by Geneen Roth, (When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair) she recounts her own version of an old Buddhist story. To quickly summarize, there was a woman who had dieted and exercised her whole life. Because she followed a strict high protien diet, she denied herself the pleasures of sweet fresh fruit. One day, she found herself running away from some tigers that had escaped from captivity. As she was finally trapped on a cliffside, with tigers both above and below her, she discovered a ripe strawberry. Realizing her death was inevitable, she ate the strawberry, and enjoyed it more than she ever could have imagined. Then she was eaten by tigers.
As Ms. Roth summarizes in the book, the moral of this story is that there are always tigers above and below us in our lives... job losses, illnesses, weight problems, etc... but it is up to us to continue to enjoy the pleasures and joys that are also always around us. It is important not to wait until we reach some imagined perfect time or place, because that perfect time will likely never arrive. With this story in mind, I will recap my afternoon....
After a very short nap, little Ben woke up crying. Knowing he had a doctors appointment in about an hour, I asked my daughter Sarah to change her clothes and get ready, while I changed Ben's diaper, fed him, dressed him, and tried to make myself presentable as well. Sarah chose a beautiful sundress, and Ben happily went about eating his lunch. Ahhh... how nice. Then, just as I was about to take the kids out to the car, a huge thunderstorm hit. Drats. Rain. Oh well, I thought, we can make a run for it. I buckled Ben in the car first, and then loaded the stroller. I buckled Sarah in the car... when to my surprise... she had forgotten undies under her dress. OK. Back inside, and up the stairs to get some panties. Once back to the car with the undies, I discoverd Ben had thrown up his entire lunch all over his shirt and carseat. Drats. Back inside for towels. Back outside for the cleanup. All the while, I'm standing outside the car in the thunderstorm. Ben sneezed about 10 times on the way to the doctor... huge gobs of yucky goo sprayed everywhere. With all this, we still arrived to the doctor on time.... only to wait AN HOUR in the waiting room. You might imagine how happy my children were to wait quietly on a chair for an hour. Needless to say, I felt surrounded by tigers at this point!!
Fortunately, I remembered this story from Geneen Roth's book, and I was still able to laugh at the silly things the kids said and did along the way. After Ben's appointment, we went to get library cards, and had fun choosing our first selections. We had a nice dinner and blew bubbles outside for a long time.
I do love ripe strawberries, and I hope I never pass one by.