About the Author
HEATHER MCNAMARA is the senior editor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, based out of Santa Barbara, California.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Circumstances are like a mattress: When we
are on top, we rest in comfort; when we are
underneath, we are smothered.
I think it was 1982. I know it was October. A friend had business dealings in the city of Reno, Nevada, and I was asked to accompany her on an overnight trip. While she conducted her business, I was aimlessly wandering down Virginia Street, headed into a most gloriously beautiful sunset. I had an urge to speak to someone on the street to share that beauty, but I couldn't make eye contact with anyone. It seemed everyone was shuffling along looking at their feet.
I took the next-best action. Quickly I ducked into a department store and asked the lady behind the counter if she could come outside for just a minute. She looked at me as though I were from some other planet and said, ôWellàö
I said, "It will only take a moment." Seemingly against her better judgment, she moved toward the door.
When she got outside I said to her, just look at that sunset! Nobody out here was looking at it and I just had to share it with someone."
For a few seconds we just looked. Then I said, "God's in his heaven and all's right with the world." I thanked her for coming out to see it; she went back inside and I left. It felt good to share the beauty.
I forgot about the episode.
Four years later my situation had altered considerably. I had come to the end of a twenty-year marriage. I was alone and on my own for the first time in my life and in drastically reduced circumstances. I lived in a trailer park which, at the time, I considered a real come-down, and I had to do my wash in the communal laundry room.
One day, while my clothes were going around, I picked up a Unity Magazine and read an article about a woman who had been in similar circumstances. She had come to the end of a marriage, moved to a strange community, and the only job she could find was one she disliked: cosmetic sales in a department store. We had a lot in common. She was as bummed out as I was.
Then something happened to her that changed everything. She said a woman came into her department store and asked her to step outside to look at a sunset. The stranger had said, "God's in his heaven and all's right with the world," and she had realized the truth in that statement and that she simply had not been seeing it. From that moment on, she turned her life around.
[EDITORS' NOTE: Sherry returned to the laundry room but the magazine was gone. She wrote Unity Magazine, but they were moving when they received her letter and couldn't help. She wants the woman in Reno to know that she has done the same thing for her. The gift has come full circle.]
(c)1999 Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Heather McNamara. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.