I was living in Holland one glorious summer (I call it my summer of love), and one day I was helping a friend move from one apartment to another. The car was nearly packed and I was standing beside it while my friend was inside looking for anything that may have been left behind.
Suddenly, this young man came running up to the car, acting hysterical, and saying, “De kleine tafel! De kleine tafel!” Unfortunately I don’t speak dutch, and I had no idea what he was on about. Whatever it was, it seemed to be the end of the world for him.
When my friend came out a conversation ensued, and finally she gave him what he was asking for: the little table. It seems that he was the landlord’s son, and in spite of the fact that the landlord had told my friend that she could have the little table, apparently her son was not of like mind, and he got very upset. My friend decided that keeping the table was not worth the risk of this kid not forwarding her mail, so she handed it over.
It never ceases to amaze me what some people consider to be a big deal. At that moment in time, that beat up, flea market table, or rather the loss thereof, was a crisis of epic proportions for that boy. That seemed like drastically skewed priorities to me, but what can I say?
Ever since then, whenever someone is overreacting and I cannot understand why, I think, “De kleine tafel!”
For example, just the other day I was asked to wash some windows that are 20 feet off the ground and under a deep overhang. The only way anyone will ever look out of or into these windows is if they employ a cherry picker, but suddenly it was urgent that they be washed.
It took me a couple hours to wash all of them, and much of that time, rather than allow myself to get worked up by the stupidity of it all, I simply sang to myself. “De kleine tafel! De kleine tafel!” And somehow the world continued to revolve around the sun.
Start a gratitude practice today. Read my book. http://amzn.to/2cCHgUu