Recently I was in a room where somebody asked what time it was. Instantly at least twenty people pulled out their cell phones to check the time. I was the only person to look at my wristwatch. I felt old, much as I do when I saddle my horse in the morning before going to work.
Within the past few weeks, my watch began to behave strangely. Although it kept accurate time, the second hand moved forward in increments of two seconds, instead of the usual one second. Days later, the second hand quit moving altogether, and the watch stopped.
I was sad, because after 15 years or so I had become attached to my little timepiece, however antiquated. I asked Donna if she would locate a watchmaker—who knew whether such an occupation still existed?—and she did. In the process of putting the watch in her purse, she dropped it on the hardwood floor, where the sharp blow made a loud noise. When she picked it up to see what she might have done to it, she discovered that the second hand was moving again, and it was moving properly—one second at a time. Moreover, it now keeps accurate time.
My watch was somehow “fixed”—whether long-term or not we shall see—by dropping it on its head. Sometimes we need a similar approach in order to change the direction of our lives:
- We might need some kind of physical or emotional trauma to spark the gratitude we always need for genuine and sustained happiness.
- Sometimes we have to lose a job either to appreciate what we had or to get a better one, or both.
- Sometimes we have to lose a loved one before we appreciate that person and realize how much we need the other people in our lives.
- We might need a friend with the love, insight, and courage to tell us, in a direct way, something we are doing or believing that is hurting us—something that we could not see ourselves, or perhaps diligently avoided seeing.
Do whatever it takes to find and maintain a relationship with someone who is willing to pick you up and drop you on your head when that’s the only way you will pay attention to a situation or condition or attitude that is harming you and others. Such people are rare because very few have the combination of love, insight, and courage required.
We tend to resist direct descriptions of our mistaken beliefs or behaviors because it can be painful. In almost all circumstances, we would choose less pain over more, but sometimes more pain is the only thing that will wake us up and make us pay attention—even save our lives. Sometimes you just need to be dropped on your head.