It was like the OMNICROM variant of attitudes. I'm serious. Don't think that I'm trying to be flippant about COVID when I say this. Adela's attitude was contagious and deadly.
It was a school morning. I had let the girls sleep to the last possible second, but I had to get them up and ready for school. I turned on the hall lights so that illumination could enter their sleepy cave without assaulting their eyes. Adela rolled over in her bed and grabbed a pillow to slam over her head.
Then the onslaught began.
Adela groaned, "Why do I have to go to school? I just want school to be over. I wish it was the weekend. I don't want to get up. I'm tired. Why can't I just stay home?" With every word she spoke I felt my own attitude slipping. My pleasant demeaner and smile were a flimsy façade growing more delicate be the second.
By day two, Micaela had caught "it", too. "No!" she yelled when I approached her bed. "I want to stay in bed. I want to sleep."
By day three, my alarm went off and I laid in bed, staring at the ceiling.
The next week followed the same cycle. Then, Thursday rolled around and as Adela spewed words of dismay and anger, I realized what was going on.
I gasped and told her, "Stop. Adela. I know that you don't want to go to school. That is your choice to feel that way, but I want you to stop talking about it. It isn't helping anybody else."
Adela stared at me. I had broken one of our home's cardinal rules. I have always said that we are allowed to express our thoughts and feelings as long as we are kind and respectful to others. But, then I realized that she was breaking the rules, too.
I took a deep breath, "Adela, everything you are saying is making it hard for Micaela and I to have good thoughts about school. It is your choice to think that way and let yourself feel that way. But it is unkind to spread it to us."
Thoughts are contagious. She blinked and the lightbulb came on for both of us.
Thoughts. They are a two-way contamination system. I can spread attitudes to others and I can catch them from others, too. I can work very hard on using good thought-hygiene but if I'm constantly exposing myself to harmful attitudes, eventually, something is going to take-root in me.
That day I learned a powerful lesson. My own determination to think good thoughts and believe admirable truths, needs to be coupled with taking action to limit my exposure to harmful attitudes when I am able. Maybe that is only chatting to certain friends on days I'm feeling weaker, or, in this case, honestly telling my little love that I was being harmed by her onslaught of negativity.
I would like to be stronger than this. I would like to be spiritually mature enough to stand in any storm with my mind and heart unharmed. But, this day I know my limitations are real and that is okay. God is still growing me. My mind needs protection and safeguarding, too.
The prudent see danger and take refuge,
What role are you playing in the thought contamination process? What attitudes do you find yourself spreading? What beliefs do you regularly expose yourself to?
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"...and God was already there with me."