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How You Can Respond to the Options Before You

“Life does not ask what we want. It presents us with options.” Thomas Sowell

The lights blinked off. We had noticed dark clouds rolling in earlier and knew a storm was coming. We were on a family vacation in Florida. In fact, we had started to plan for the typical afternoon shower that came more often than not. We had already let go of our beach gear and were getting ready to decide what we wanted to do next when suddenly the power went off. We were near the lobby so we grabbed a table by a fireplace in a cozy annex. It felt a little strange at first. I had never been in a hotel during a power outage. I wondered about the elevators and people who were on the top floor. There was a line forming by the front desk. Everyone wanted to know what happened and how long it would be before it was fixed and what they were they supposed to do in the meantime.

Thankfully, it was the middle of the day so there was plenty of light and the ambiance of the gas fireplace in our little spot offered a calming glimmer. Soon one of our kids grabbed a game from a nearby shelf. It wasn’t long before a server came by and asked if we wanted something to drink. She placed a basket of nuts and snack mix on our table along with a candle. Suddenly, a sense of adventure arose. We were there together, in a beautiful place. We had food and drinks and the blessing of being together. We played that game and laughed and enjoyed ourselves. There was no where else we had to go and nothing else that we had to do. We had the option of taking advantage of the moment.

The memory of that day in Florida popped into my mind yesterday. I remembered the fun of it. I recall the gift of being able to enjoy the unexpected. I have not had much margin in my schedule this past month. Of course it is easier to build margin into your schedule when you’re on vacation and not all of the unexpected circumstances of life give rise to something fun. The hotel personal probably had a very different experience that day. Richard Swanson writes, “Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.”

The way we think about, plan, and go through our day makes such a difference. The simple act of adding margin to your day can be a game changer. It is so important to have a little time and space to catch your breath. When I have some margin built into my schedule it allows me to help others as well as take care better of myself. It helps me think more clearly and it improves my mood and my attitude. When your day is not totally filled, you also have the ability to respond to the unexpected things (good or bad) and become more aware of what is possible.


Do you have some margin in your day?

Can you recall a time when you were able to respond well to unexpected things that came up?

What option is there before you today?

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