Finding the humor in any situation was one of my husband’s many abillities that often went overlooked and taken for granted because of his other talents and accomplishments. I had the best in the world to learn this skill and apply it to my own life.
Let me give you a personal example.
Years ago our family was getting ready to go on a camping vacation. The tent was packed, the car serviced and I was busy washing the clothes we needed to take with us.
Our washing machine had a water pressure problem that we were unable to correct. So my husband had cut a short hose I could attach to the adjoining laundry sink faucet to use to fill the washing machine. The only problem was you had to stay nearby to shut the faucet off when the washing machine was full. Two times in the past my attention had been diverted with potential disastrous results. So I was very selective when using the hose.
With a limited amount of time to get everything done, I decided I needed to use the “hose” and I was close by in the kitchen packing food. We were leaving early in the morning.
Everything went smoothly for the first two loads. Then it happened. The phone rang and I needed to go to our home office to answer questions about our band business. Because I thought it would only take a few minutes, I didn’t shut the water off before leaving. When I hung up the phone, I realized I was gone longer than I thought. I rushed to the kitchen.
But it was too late. The water had been spilling over onto the floor long enough to flood both the laundry room and part of the adjoining kitchen. We had kitchen carpets in both areas and not only were the carpets saturated but there was standing water. The water had even reached my sewing area and material stored in boxes on the floor were saturated.
I quickly shut off the water and stood there feeling frustrated, stressed and angry. My automatic thoughts went something like this: How could this happen. I wasn’t gone that long. Why did I use that stupid hose? Why hadn’t my husband found a solution to the low water pressure instead of giving me a stupid hose to use?
My anger escalated in seconds from my use of the hose to anger at my husband. It was now all his fault. It is so easy to fall into the blame game trap.
At that moment, my husband opened the door and saw the water and knew immediately what had happened. There was just the hint of a smile along with empathy on his face for he could see both the frustration and humor in the situation.
I remember vividly in that instant being presented with two options. I could continue to be angry and dump this anger onto my husband, or I could choose to see the humor in the situation as he did.
The urge to remain angry was powerful. But I knew that if I remained angry it would not only spoil the rest of my day but impact our vacation as well, I decided I needed to choose to see the humor.
In that split second of choice, my anger instantly melted away and I found myself laughing.
As I thought about this incident later, I realized that we can choose what we do with our first responses. I could either clean up this mess with angry resentment or do it with a positive attitude and humor.
Humor made it so much easier. Humor energized me that if I had hung onto my anger would not have. It was a powerful learning experience that I continue to use to this day.
Even when our first response to an incident is anger or frustration or helplessness, we do not have to stay in that place.
When we change a negative response to a positive one, we are able to resolve any problem.