Ralph Waldo Emerson
Positive Inspirational Stories
Positive Featured Inspirational Story - October 26 to November 30, 2008
Broken Eggs and Shattered Glass
On a recent Saturday evening at around midnight, my wife and I were just about to turn out the light and go to sleep when we heard the sounds of a group of people talking in the street, outside our home. Then out of the blue came two loud thuds above our bedroom window, followed by the noise of laughter and people running away down our street.
We both jumped out of bed, I turned on the external lights and rushed outside unsure of what had caused the two thuds or what damage I could expect to see. The silence of the night was broken by the distant sound of people laughing and at that moment I was of a mind to chase after them, however, running bare-footed on the road in the dark is not a very wise thing to do.
I could hear dripping noises on the driveway and the flood light above our garage helped me to identify just what had happened. Our home had been the victim of an egg bombing!
Being faced with the prospect of cleaning up this sticky mess in the early hours of the morning was not a pleasing thought, on top of which I was less than impressed that we had been singled out for this annoying prank. I decided that it was too late to clean up the mess, as it would disturb our neighbours, so it could wait to the morning.
Early next morning with a bucket of warm water and scrubbing brush in hand, and with the extension ladder placed on the front wall, I was now ready to wash off what was now two dry yellowish, egg grit impregnated, 1 metre long patches above our front bedroom windows.
My task was made even more challenging by the two large canvas awnings which protect our bedroom windows from the heat and glare of the afternoon sun. My annoyance with the late night pranksters was again building to the level of the night before.
After retracting each of the awnings, something we rarely do except when there is are very high winds, I then climbed the ladder to clean up the first patch of egg stain and then move the ladder to clean the second patch.
As I climbed the ladder for the second time, I noticed that the glass in a small window just under the roof line was very badly cracked. On closer inspection the crack ran around over half of the outer edge of the window pane. As the awning protected the window, it was clear to me that the damage had not been caused by the egg bombing. As I carefully placed my hand on the glass, I discovered that the pane of glass was very loose and had the window been closed with any force, it would have most likely shattered and the glass dropped to the drive way, some seven metres below.
Just a few metres away, we have a basketball ring and on most days of the week there are up to six young people who play in the immediate area, including both my sons. My thoughts immediately turned to what could have happened if the broken glass in the window had gone undetected for much longer and then suddenly shattered. The likelihood of my two sons and their friends being seriously injured was extremely high.
After quickly washing the remaining egg stain off the front wall and with the help of Tom, my youngest son, I got to work with some heavy duty masking tape and secured the cracked window as best I could. Within 24 hours the cracked window had been replaced and all was back to normal, except for the small bits of egg shell I kept finding on the front drive way and stuck to our garage doors.
Over the next few days, I realised that had our home not been bombarded by those eggs late on that Saturday night, I may not have discovered the broken window pane before it shattered and came down all over our drive way.
Even though it had been an annoyance at time, the broken eggs and the stains were cleaned up very quickly, however, the pain that could have been caused by the shattering of glass would never gone away and would have haunted my wife and myself, forever and a day.
The cold shudder that ran down my spine when I first discovered the cracked window and the thought about the consequences of someone being seriously injured or even killed, made me realise just how very lucky we had been.
Frequently in life, the small things that happen to us may have a negative impact and cause some form of pain, sadness, discomfort or personal aggravation. It is often said that we should not 'sweat the small stuff' and always look for the positive outcome or the silver lining in those dark clouds of the current circumstance, even though at the time that is not always an easy thing to do.
My personal experience with the egg bombing on that Saturday evening reminded me that in most cases there is always a flip side to everything that happens to us and that often the flip side can provide a positive outcome or an even greater benefit, if not now, then at some time in the future.
From now on whenever I see or break an egg, I will think of the egg bombing incident and say a thank you to those late night pranksters. Equally, I will always be reminded of Jean-Paul Sartre's quote: 'What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us'
Inspired by some late night pranksters and written by Keith Ready
This story appeared in InspirEmail No 63 - July 4, 2005
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