Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Luckiest Person Alive

When I was little, one of my favourite books was The Lucky Old Woman by Robin Muller. It was a beautifully illustrated story about a hardworking peasant and the meanspirited and magical "Grumpleteaser" who amuses himself by trying to torment her.

One day on her way home from work she finds a pot of gold and thinks her monetary woes are over. However, as she drags the thing home in her apron or whatever, the grumpleteaser transforms it into items of lesser and lesser value until eventually she's left dragging a rock. But the grumplejerk's attempts to systematically break her spirit fail, as every time she looks back to see the gold, turned to copper etc., she comes up with some reason why it's actually better than what she had before and continues merrily on her way. "'Moon and stars,' she cried. 'I must be the luckiest person alive!'"

Eventually he gets so fed up with her chipper attitude that he just goes ahead and smashes all the stuff in her little cottage (a little over the top if you ask me). So she finally cries and he feels bad and gives her cottage an extreme makeover and they have tea by the fire.

I'm not really sure if the moral of the story was supposed to be something about how grumpleteasers sometimes need tea and sympathy too, but what stuck with me was the way the woman in the story just adapted to whatever was thrown her way with good humour and grace.

I've spent the past month talking myself out of then in to then out of and now back into staying on as the reporter here all while having very little control of the situation, and it's been exhausting. But if I've learned anything from that lucky old woman, it's that no matter what situation you find yourself in, (with a few exceptions, ie, having your cottage wrecked by a gremlin with anger management problems) there are always advantages. Looking for them can be exhausting as well, but it's worth it, and it's necessary.

Last weekend I got to see at least 5 of my favourite people, one of whom was the ballerina I've mentioned before. She recently had a bad fall and had just had surgery on her elbow to repair several fractures when we met up on Sunday. Despite the fact that she must be crushed to be missing out on the final dance showcase of her University career, we laughed our heads off just as much as we always do. Granted, she was on some serious pain medication, but still. I have to figure, as long as we can find something to laugh at, we've got to be all right.

"Moon and Stars!" indeed.


Mari said...

I am trying too, Sarah! Some days I am more successful than others... Got any potato chips? I feel like salt tonight.

Anonymous said...

positive perspective is hard to keep but your right it is worth it. Thanks for the reminder.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

What a sweet story, I love it. On the rare occasion that I find myself reading a children's book, I'm often struck by how simple and powerful the lessons can be.

Sarah said...

Mari: Don't tempt me. I have this problem where I crave salt and once I have it I crave chocolate, and then the chocolate makes me crave salt. It's sick.

JPP: I think it's also that much harder in the neverending winter.

Overcoat: (Do you mind if I call you overcoat?) I'm pretty sure all of my life choices thus far have been dictated by the books I was read as a child.