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Bad things happen.

Sometimes, they happen because of a poor decision.

Other times, they just happen.

But it’s not whether they will happen, but how we react that matters.

Last week was filled with “bad.” Unusually, it far outweighed the good.

And I didn’t handle it all particularly well. For a while, I raged at folks I shouldn’t have.

Even though I knew that was not being productive, I seemed to have been taken over by someone other than the normally sunny Sal.

I didn’t like this angry person inside my soul, but it took some effort to get rid of her.

Part of the effort was the normalcy that comes with fixing dinner when all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers. It was leftovers and a quick salad, but it tasted great. Next came a half-hour of sun after dinner on the friend’s pretty front porch, the dog stretched out at our feet.

Watching the evening sun, seeing normal traffic moving on the road next to the house, all helped to calm my demeanor.

Then the darling dog and I went home, and opened the screen door to let in the warm evening air.

Across the street, a gang of small people rode bikes and scooters. They laughed — a lot. And as the witching hour of 8 p.m. approached, they asked who would be there the next night. Then they dispersed to their homes, happy that the countdown to summer had really begun in earnest.

I realized as I watched and listened to them that this is what we are all striving for — the peace that comes with being with friends, giggling on a warm spring evening.

Just when I question how things will come out on the other side, and how these rough patches will be navigated, small people with bikes and scooters provide the answer.

Neighborhoods are small countries in themselves. There are people and pets and vehicles of all ages and kinds. Some folks are out all of the time, craving being social. Others arrive home and lock their doors, never to be seen again.

There are rules to be followed, and sometimes, rules are broken. There are things to do to help, and things best left alone.

The fact is that kind deeds and words aren’t always appreciated and aren’t always returned. So we turn the other proverbial cheek and move on.

We can only control what we can control — say, having our pets on leashes as an example.

As long as there is sun in the evening and small people across the street, the world’s sharp edges will be softened.

There will be other tough times, there always are.

But as we learned last week, the tough times are followed by coming together, helping out, pitching in.

And asking, “how are you,” is never a bad thing, especially if you are willing to listen to the answer.

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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