What to accept and what to change

I went to the furniture store on a mission.

I intended to find and buy the perfect chair for me. Though I have a small office outside my home, I do most of my writing in my living room, feet propped up and looking out the window. I am not a potato, but I do write every day — and the quietness of my living room just works for me. However, after years of moving from couch to chair to table and back again trying to pacify one minor discomfort or the other, I decided the time had come to buy a designated Writing Chair — that’s right, a capital W and capital C Writing Chair.

I explained to the patient sales attendant my goal. She and I proceeded to walk around the entire furniture store looking for my ideal perch. She would point. I would sit and determine if each chair was a possibility or an outright no. Within an hour, I had made my decision.

Three months later, I am happy to report it was a good one.

I feel like Goldilocks.

My Writing Chair is not too soft. It’s not too hard. It’s just the right height and just the right depth. The footstool suits me too.

Buying it was a splurge, but it wasn’t a budget buster or overly extravagant.

I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

Really, I’ve thought about it a lot and can’t figure out why I didn’t find a better solution years ago. Maybe it was because I got too comfortable and too familiar with the problem — and rather than genuinely finding a solution, I just made do.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in being resourceful. However, I also believe there’s a difference between being practical and making do versus exacerbating or prolonging a situation that actually has a logical, sometimes even a simple way out — in instances somewhat trivial (like my Writing Chair situation) and in instances of great consequence (you fill in the blank here).

Now and again, we get so comfortable in our discomfort that we forget about trying to find a solution. Instead, we move around from place to place in our living rooms from sofa to chair and back again, rather than face the situation and find a better solution to the problem. Apparently, something has to jar us from our near zombie-like acceptance of whatever it is in life — from a missing piece of furniture to something more complicated — that could be improved.

The trick, of course, is knowing what to accept and what to change.

Like the Serenity Prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Sometimes, when we need to create change in our lives, there’s a step that comes before courage — something has to stir us to remind us that there’s a better way. Something has to rouse us to the possibilities beyond moving around the metaphorical living room from sofa to chair. Great mystery lies in how some catalysts provoke us to take the necessary steps to improve our lives or situation, while we simply ignore or don’t notice others.

At any rate, this I know. As I sit in my Writing Chair writing, my feet are propped just right. The fire to my left warms my toes. Our freshly cut and decorated Christmas tree, full of whimsy, warms my heart — and I am full of gratitude for the blessings of a near perfect place to feed my spirit and rest my bones.

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