Annoyed or Blessed, You Choose

So, I was watching Good Will Hunting with my wife the other night…

And, there was a part where Robin Williams’ character, a worn-out, sharp-witted, yet deeply intuitive and loving therapist named Sean, is counseling the brilliant, yet emotionally withdrawn Will Hunting. Sean’s wife, we learned, passed two years earlier after an extended bout with cancer.

The following exchange ensues…

Sean: My wife used to fart when she was nervous. She had all sorts of wonderful little idiosyncrasies. She used to fart in her sleep. I thought I’d share that with you. One night it was so loud it woke the dog up. She woke up and went ‘ah was that you?’ And I didn’t have the heart to tell her. Oh!

Will: She woke herself up? [both characters begin to laugh uncontrollably]

Sean: Ahhh…! But Will, she’s been dead for 2 years, and that’s the shit I remember: wonderful stuff you know? Little things like that. Those are the things I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I know about: that’s what made her my wife. Oh she had the goods on me too, she knew all my little peccadilloes. People call these things imperfections, but they’re not. Ah, that’s the good stuff.

I watched that scene with my head lying on my wife’s lap as she played with my hair (what’s left of it). A scene that’s been repeated upon an ebb and flow of tattered couches along a winding road of apartments over the last 17 years.

And, as I lay there, I realized just how true Williams’ line was,

“People call these things imperfections, but they’re not. Ah, that’s the good stuff…”

Thing is…

Most of us don’t realize that rather than stowing away the foibles, eccentricities and quirks of those closest to us as mounting ammunition for a fight yet to come, we have the choice to embrace them, instead, as signposts of how fortunate we are.

In my home, I’m outnumbered two to one…

Every doorknob is adorned, on some level, with growing collection of hairbands, scrunchies, hair-ties, ties-backs, twirly-things, clips, twists and more. It’s a habit of convenience, I think. You never have to go far to find just the right hair-management machinery.

For years, this used to bug me, like the toothpaste cap from sitcoms. I’d get so annoyed, “what’s so difficult about taking the extra two second to put these things in a drawer somewhere?!” I remember a moment, filled with pink and lavender striped hairband rage, I just couldn’t take it any more.

Something had to be done!

Nothing less than my manliness, my sense of respect and order was at stake.

Which is why I found it so odd to be laughing at my own lunacy just seconds later. Because, what had to be done…was for me to stop being such a rigid ass. To take a deep breath and choose to look at this heinous adverse possession of doorknob real-estate in another light.

All around me on every door was a reminder. Tangible, visible proof that I was not alone…

That I was loved. That I had two beautiful women, my wife and daughter, to come home to every day, to play with in the mornings and to lie with, half asleep, drifting in and out of consciousness as we all watched TV together on the couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Instead of seeing this simple idiosyncrasy as some form of disrespect, laziness, insult or injury, in that moment, and with every glance at a fabric laden doorknob since…

I saw only proof that I was blessed.

And, though my daughter’s only 7 now, I already dread the day I return home from that long car-ride back from her first day at college…only to find the doorknobs woefully unadorned.

Robin Williams’ character was so right, “People call these things imperfections, but they’re not. Ah, that’s the good stuff…”

If only we’d awaken to the notion that, at any given moment, we can choose to view them as such…

Now…go watch the movie. You won’t be sorry.

So, what do you think?

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