Tuesday I took my precious laptop into our local highly-recommended computer fix-it store.

The speakers had suddenly stopped working a few weeks ago. It was not a huge deal but seemed worth getting fixed; I was assured it would be in and out within the day.

I called the store later Tuesday to inquire about progress. My laptop was just being put back together; they would call shortly. I phoned again later in the day. They had put my laptop back together and now it would not start. They would have to take it apart and find out what the problem is.

It seems that in the process of disassembling or reassembling my laptop the mother board shorted and it would now have to go back to the manufacturer for repair. I would be without my computer for two weeks.

Two days after my computer fiasco a construction worker arrived from a major firm in town hired by our insurance company to install an exterior door to replace the one smashed when our house was broken into on 16 February. It took a long time for the door to come as it had to be custom-built to fit the available space. The process was slowed down because the first door sent by the manufacturer was damaged in shipment; so a second door had to be sent.

The carpenter carved out the slots to install three hinges on the door and then drilled the first screw in to secure the hinge. As soon as the screw went in he knew it was the wrong door. It was supposed to be a solid wood exterior door. This was a fibre-filled door that would over time warp in the weather.

Life does not work all that well much of the time. Things go wrong. People make mistakes. At other times unavoidable bumps in the road upset the anticipated course of events and no one is really to blame.

If I am expecting things to run smoothly, I am setting myself up for a lot of frustration, aggravation, and pain.

After he had laboured for two and half hours on the wrong door, our carpenter summoned me to help  put it back in his van to return to the shop. As we loaded the door his phone rang. As I held the door I heard him say to his boss, “Well, normally the owner would be freaking out; but this guy seems okay.”

I confess, I “freaked out” a little more about my laptop.  A basement door has less impact on my life.

But the carpneter’s comment caused me to ponder my response when things go wrong. Who is well served by anyone “freaking out”? Things do go wrong. The only control I have is over how I choose to respond.

I can rail against the disaster of a laptop that has been blown up. I can complain about the incompetence of a shipping company that damages a door in transit or the carelessness of a manufacturer who ships the wrong door. Complaining changes nothing; it only increases my stress in a situation over which I have no control.

Our old boarded up door remains in place in the basement. I am typing this on a massive loaner-laptop and managing my email on webmail. Eventually, our door will be replaced and my laptop will return.

It is unpleasant when things go wrong. But I remain free to choose how I respond to the inevitability that at times, life does not run along smoothly according to my plan.

 

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