by Annette Bridges. © 2007. All rights reserved.
So you had a bad day. Do you really want to relive it by replaying the details of each bad scene over and over again in your head? I realize that some bad days seem tough to leave behind us. Maybe we’re consumed with regrets, filled with frustrations, battered with self-condemnation or overwhelmed with depression.
What can we do to cut through the mire of agony that is bringing us down? Is there an antidote for bad days?
I guess there are many types of bad days. But perhaps the most common is when all that makes up our own unique minutiae goes wrong. You know . . . the day-to-day details — the very particulars that form much of our day.
When I was a teacher aide during college, I was introduced to a book that I was to read to a class of second graders. Little did I know that it would become a book that would change forever how I looked at my life!
So yes, there is an antidote for bad days, and its secret is tucked away in a children’s book. Actually, when I made the discovery, I wasn’t surprised that a children’s book could hold such valuable and insightful knowledge. Just look at children. They seem to be experts at falling down and jumping right back up again, perhaps after brushing the dirt off their pants first. Then they immediately continue doing what they were doing before they fell. Isn’t this called resilience?
What’s the name of this miracle book, you ask? None other than “Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” written by Judith Viorst.
As the story develops, Alexander has one of those bad days most of us can relate to. Shortly after his morning begins, he concludes, “I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” You might reach this same conclusion, too, if you woke up with gum in your hair, tripped on a skateboard as you got out of bed, and dropped the sweater you were planning to wear that day in the sink while the water was running. Even before he had breakfast, he could predict what his day was going to be like.
And his day did seem to go from bad to worse. Nothing was to go poor Alexander’s way. From getting smashed in the middle seat of the car, discovering his lunch sack was dessertless, being told by the dentist he had a cavity, being forced to own stripeless sneakers, having lima beans for dinner, witnessing kissing on television, being made to sleep in railroad-train pajamas and so much more. Alexander’s day got so bad that several times he considered moving to Australia.
However, by the day’s end, Alexander reached a simple conclusion that revealed the secret to overcoming bad days. He said, “My mom says some days are like that. Even in Australia.” You get the feeling he turned over and went peacefully to sleep, leaving his bad day far behind him.
So I concluded the key to overcoming bad days is found in a childlike, resilient attitude. And guess what? You and I have it. In fact, it’s God-given. God lovingly provides his dear children with everything they need to meet and master whatever is demanded of them.
Yes, God’s children are buoyant, adaptable, adjustable, and flexible. This makes us able to recover strength, spirits and good humor quickly. If we let something get us down, we can bounce back into shape promptly.
Christ Jesus promised us he would be with us always. I’ve always trusted that meant the presence of the healing Christ power would indeed always be with us when we were in need. So, when we fall into the temptation of a burdensome, bad day, we have this promise from Christ Jesus: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And the ever-present healing power of Christ indeed makes all burdens light.
We are created spiritually lighthearted. And this gives us dominion over all the “earthiness” of life — which includes all the minutiae of our days.
Maintaining a spiritually lighthearted, resilient attitude is possible and powerful. I’ve been testing its potency since my discovery of Alexander’s book over 25 years ago. This state of mind can calmly cut through, slice through and walk through any bad day that confronts us.