Light Switches

You may be saying to yourself, “a post about light switches, really?” Yes, really. Stick with me and see what you think.

Recently, my family and I went on vacation together in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. It is absolutely gorgeous country, with panoramic views of high peaks, rivers, lakes and heavily wooded hillsides. It is a sure reminder to me that I benefit from time spent in the wilderness. It renews me in a way nothing else does.

But, as with most every trip, before we could get there, there was a lot to do, starting with packing our two vehicles. We’d decided to take them both so it wouldn’t be so stressful deciding which things we could bring.

The downside of this mindset is that we brought far more stuff than we really needed. We’d say something to each other like, “Oh, there’s space, we’ll just bring it.”

As a result, both of our cars were pretty heavily laden, which meant a lot of time and energy to pack them before we left and to unpack once we got back.

We got a fairly early start for us and had already decided to eat at one of our favorite restaurants on the way there. This set us back a little time-wise, but it was worth it.

Upon arrival, we checked out the “cottage” and discovered it was more like a spectacular vacation home. It had four bedrooms, two and half bathrooms, a kitchen, a “great room” (a massive room with beautiful exposed pine paneling, from floor to ceiling, which was about twenty-five feet above us), a screened in porch, nice deck and access to two washers and two dryers. It was simply awesome.

After unloading the cars, we decided it was time to grab some dinner and treated ourselves to a wonderful meal at a local restaurant, before driving 15 miles to the nearest grocery store to buy our first round of provisions. By the time we got back, put away the groceries and arranged all of the stuff we’d brought with us, it was late and we were both pretty exhausted.

I went upstairs to the master bedroom and laid out all of my clothes on one of the storage shelves in the large walk-through closet, then brought my travel kit into the master bath. When I was done in the bathroom I turned off the lights. At least I thought I did.

It was still very bright, so I went back in and tried to turn off ALL of the switches. There are five in total (for one bathroom).

Nope, still very bright. What was going on?

By now I was overtired and not functioning particularly well. And, angry that I could not turn off the lights properly. I walked back into the bathroom, determined to accomplish this simple task.

It was then that I discovered two very large recessed sky lights, which were letting in a major amount of light. They were actually bathing the bathroom in a beautiful soft, warm glow.

My next thought was, “duh!”

That’s what I grew up saying to myself when something incredibly obvious had happened, meaning, “of course, you should have noticed this before.”

I immediately realized this is often a pattern for me, to make quick assumptions, as if they are facts. I know my fatigue was a factor, but, recognized the statement was still true. A part of me closes down and ignores some rather obvious things and I suffer needlessly because of these lapses. It would be so much better to step back when I encounter a situation that doesn’t make sense to me and breathe for a moment and take a whole new clear look at the issue.

This principle holds true for me for so many other situations and I hope to be able to remember the skylight story and the awareness it provided.

Just a funny FYI. The cottage had 55 switches in the parts we had access to. That’s more than double the number in my whole house, including my basement and garage. I’m glad for the ‘switch’ simplicity I have at home.

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