When I got back home, I took off my shoes and socks and headed for the shower. Then it happened…
I stepped in cat puke. In my bare feet! I was stunned. I remember thinking, “This can’t be what I think it is!” I stood there like a statute with one foot in the air, wondering, “How do I get to the paper towels in the kitchen without tracking this from room to room?” Then I thought, “This isn’t even my cat!” (We were cat sitting at the time.)
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. But to my surprise, I quietly hopped into the kitchen, got the paper towels, and clean the cat puke off of my foot.
That was it! No yelling, no cussing, no hunting the cat down to make it pay. Just cleaning the cat puke off my foot and moving on. I wish I could tell you that the reason I handled it so well was because I’m such a calm and easy going guy, but it probably had more to do with not wanting to wake my wife that early in the morning. What I do know is that this little experience could have wrecked my day, but instead, I went on to have a pretty good day.
So whats the point? Maybe you’ve heard people use the phrase “if I get hit by a bus.” This phrase is usually used as a preface to telling someone what to do if something really bad happens. For example: “If I get hit by a bus, make sure you contact the insurance company…. and don’t get rid of my stuffed moose head.”
But there’s a higher probability of us stepping in cat puke then getting hit by a bus. This means that we should pay more attention to how we react to the smaller frustrations, because they will be more frequent and have a higher probability of disrupting our day.
So how can we better handle these “cat puke” moments so they don’t wreck our attitude and our day? Here’s a game plan that might work for you. When you have one of those “stepping in cat puke” moments remember these words…
- COMPOSE. Take a breath. Count to ten. Sing the alphabet song. Do whatever you have to do to calm and compose yourself before you react. This will allow you to choose how you should respond, rather than reacting without thinking.
- COMPARE. Compare what’s happened to all the things that could happen. “Ok, so I stepped in cat puke, but at least it wasn’t a roadside bomb.” “Ok, so I have a sinus infection, but at least it’s not Ebola.” It’s amazing how comparing what’s happened to what could have happened will keep you from over reacting.
- CLEAN IT UP. Sometimes stuff just happens. It’s not karma and no one is out to get you. It’s just life. You can fuss and moan about what’s happened, but all that’s going to do is make you feel worse, and you still have to do something with the problem. The quicker you just clean it up, the quicker you can move on to something else. This is the easiest way to move forward and feel better.
Even if you don’t have a cat, there will be “cat puke” moments in life. I’m not saying that following the above advice will keep you serene and angelic in all these situations, but it may help you salvage the rest of your day.
Oh and by the way, I left the cat puke on the floor for my wife to clean up. (OK, so I still have work to do on this husband thing.)
On another level…
There are no passages of Scripture that specifically address stepping in cat puke. (Wouldn’t that be cool if there were?) But Scripture does have a lot to say about dealing with difficulties, both big and small. Take a look at James 1:2-4…
“Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)
The more you and I apply this passage to even the smallest frustrations, the better our day and our life will be.
If you have found a way that helps deal with frustrating moments without letting them ruin your day, leave a comment and share it with the rest of us. We can all use the help.
Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg