Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

January 21, 2004

Outsmarting Old Man Trouble

I asked my favorite angels for some help figuring out, and hopefully reframing, the issues I've been working out since I saw Cold Mountain, and they came through immediately. I asked for help as I was driving to the library with Maya and as soon as we got there, I found a children's book whose story was just for me. It's called Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble by Phyllis Root, illustrated by David Parkins. In it, we have a trickster character (Aunt Nancy- feisty country Grandma) who outwits Old Man Trouble (a great character at every level, whether literal or figurative- vague enough to fit any trouble, but with a satifyingly evil physical presence). He comes knocking at her door with troubles in his wake and at first she tries to keep him out, but he makes it known that he will always get in some way so she invites him to sit a spell and offers him hospitality. He creates mischeif in her house, but she just acts like she's happy about each misfortune- she reframes them to the positive (for example, he makes her chair break and she remarks how glad she is because she needs some kindling). He gets pretty down hearted about his trouble-making abilites until she pulls a little reverse psychology on him. She tells him she doesn't want her dry well to have water in it again because of all the damp and mud it would cause. They both chuckle as their plans get played out and are both satisfied with the result.

So trouble's not the most powerful force here. There's a mental game to be played to outsmart my troubles. Let's play.

Posted by Bahiyyih at January 21, 2004 05:25 PM

That was a cool story... finding the positive things in a tough situation is a cool skill to have. It reminds me of Abdu'l-Baha. Especially the part about the broken chair.

Posted by: Nate at January 23, 2004 02:15 AM

Thanks Nate. Good point. I should go look up some of his stories too. This kind of re-framing takes a lot more discipline and will than just seeing things the way they look at first. It's like a mental habit I'm trying to form. Definitely not instant gratification.

Posted by: Bahiyyih at January 23, 2004 08:33 AM