A GAC Sunrise

Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to head up to Weequahic. Our new caretaker, Alex, and his team had been cruising through some new projects and I wanted to check in with him. Impressive work – these guys can really get things done!

An Early Start

Because of an early Wayne County Camp Association meeting the next morning, I left Weequahic before sunrise. I’m not a huge fan of driving early in the morning during the winter around camp but, thankfully, the snow plows had been very active early and the roads were great.

As I was driving the windy, up and down Hwy 17B, the sky brightened slowly but surely. And then, crossing over the Delaware River, the full glory of the morning’s first light hit all around me.

The sunrise was spectacular. It illuminated the trees on the Pennsylvania side making the snow covered pines literally glow. There were small patches of ice bubbling calmly down the Delaware. The clouds in the sky were a riot of reds, purple, and golds. The fields and the small town I was passing through were idyllic. It was a gorgeous moment.

And then I smelled the skunk.

It hit me full on, head first and was brutal. The smell was so strong, I thought the thing had climbed into the car with me and asked for a breakfast bar. It was over-powering.

To be honest, I got a bit frustrated. I mean, I had just been enjoying this incredible, once in a long while kind of sunrise. I had been fully immersed in this fantastic moment and then, WHAM!, this happens? C’mon!!! I laughed darkly at the irony.

A “GAC” Lesson

To get my mind off things as I sped along, I turned on a podcast I had been listening to the afternoon before. The first things I heard was this:

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.”

Wait… what? I had to stop the podcast, rewind, and listen to it again because I couldn’t believe the coincidence of it. Sure enough, the person being interviewed had said:

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.”

All of the sudden, I realized the lesson in my beautiful, skunk-tinged sunrise – I get to choose my point of focus. I don’t have to choose, I get to choose. There is a big difference in those two verbs.

The inputs – the visual beauty and pungent smell – were streaming at me. Because I was driving, I had to take them both in. But, I didn’t have to give them both the same amount of attention. When I started to focus on the gratitude I felt for the sunrise, I actually got happier. Sure, the skunk smell was still with me but I knew that it would be gone a mile or two later. The beauty of that sunrise, though, would stay with me for a long time.

When I started to focus on the gratitude I felt for the sunrise, I actually got happier. Sure, the skunk smell was still with me but I knew that it would be gone in a mile or two. The beauty of that sunrise, though, would stay with me for a long time.

Going Forward

Every day we are presented with opportunities to choose our focus. Things are never perfect – a great game could be marred by a teammate’s turn-overs. You probably will be sent to bed before you want to after a fantastic day. Some kid in your class probably did something annoying today. But, are you going to let those small experiences take away the good?

You get to choose your point of focus and how you react. And, if you choose to be grateful for the good in your life, those smelly moments go by a whole lot faster.

Have a great weekend!