I have read that in the unlikely event that you are caught in a stare-down with a grizzly bear, the best thing to do is talk to him softly and pleasantly. Your voice is supposed to have a soothing effect . . .
Yeah, talking to an angry grizzly bear. Dillard does say that she has never had the opportunity to put this advice into action. I would venture to guess that, if I were confronting a large ursine mammal, the first words out of my mouth wouldn't be, "Hey there, big fella. You're looking good tonight." My response would probably be more along the lines of, "Holy fu#*!!!! Get me the fu#* out of here!!!!" And I wouldn't say it with a smile.
It was a long, ten-hour work day, starting at 6 a.m. Registering tons of patients. Answering lots of phone calls. Scanning a lot of medical charts. By about noon, I was feeling a little crispy. By 4 p.m., I was a burned lasagna. Walking out to my car at the end of the day, I was in such a foul mood that, if I had seen a pissed-off grizzly, I probably would have kicked it in the gonads and kept walking.
At the medical office, I work with one of my best friends. I've worked with her for over 15 years. She pretty much has seen me at my best and worst. Today, she told me that, since I returned to my old job, I've been incredibly positive. "You used to be so crabby," she said, "sighing all the time, hanging up on me when I paged you."
It was kind of a revelation for me. I never realized that I was a grizzly bear at work before. But I've learned a few things over the last couple of years. Appreciating the people in my life. Looking for grace in my day-to-days. Most importantly, being positive in stressful situations.
That doesn't mean that I'm Pollyanna every day of my life. However, I don't lose my temper as much. If I am in a bad mood, like I was this afternoon, I try not to let it last too long. I'm not always successful in doing this. Life happens. My wife sometimes lets small problems become Hindenburgs. My son has ADHD, and, at night, can become a little possessed. My daughter is fifteen, 'nuff said.
Tonight, though, Saint Marty is not a bear. Just keep talking softly and pleasantly to him.