On Remembering to Find the Good

Yesterday was not a good day. Wait- let me clarify- yesterday had a not good thing happen, and I let it color a good bit of the day. I came home from a morning recital rehearsal to find that my garage door (which opens up into the alley behind our property) had been tagged with a gang symbol. We have lived in our home for almost twelve years, and have only had a tagging incident (on our wooden fence by the alley) once. The garage door has remained pristine…until yesterday. I am very protective of my loved ones and of our home, and I felt violated, felt the anger rise up in me. I took it personally – we are nice people and good neighbors, working hard to make our home a beautiful part of this old Southside Birmingham neighborhood…how could someone do this?

I took a photo and went to tell Dan. He shook his head sadly and did what Dan always does- he remained calm and dealt with it, suggesting that we first try to remove the paint, and if not, we’d spray paint over it until we could repaint it all. We went out in the gentle rain armed with white spray paint, and some things to try to remove the black symbol- which didn’t work. Dan handed me the spray can and told me he thought it would be healing for me to paint over the image, and he left me to it to begin his long list of Mr. MacKenzie chores. I stood in the rain, slowly painting, and felt the anger simmering, negativity boiling over. So not me. Once I finished the job, I stood back to look at it, sharing my head in disgust and muttering under my breath. It seems I was in a fine funk, determined to be upset…until I looked at things a different way. 

When I let the anger take over, it does nothing to the miscreants who randomly chose to mark our property (and several other places along the alley, as well). All it does do is to eat away at my peace and calm, stealing away hours of my life that I won’t get back. It’s just paint- my animals weren’t harmed, nor were we. I love our funky old neighborhood, and I live here instead of the swankier, “safer”, neighborhoods of Birmingham because of the diversity. I love the architecture of the homes, many of which are well over a hundred years old. Our neighborhood will only be a great place to live if people like Dan and I continue to care. And we do care- a lot. 

  How can I be angry when I have these two?

I have to remind myself at times like this that we get back from the universe what we put out there. I don’t want to be one of the angry people that gets mad and stays mad at the world. It’s so easy to fall into that trap, isn’t it? I choose to put love out there, and I’m grateful for all of the love that comes back to me. I forgive the person who tagged my garage…and I hope that they find what they need to become people who build a community rather than tear it down. There is so much good in the world, so many good people. I will try to breath deeply and think before letting something like that steal my peace again…and I’ll buy a few cans of white spray paint- just in case. 


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