I was at a restaurant recently and I saw a mouse shoot across the floor and scamper under a table. I wasn’t the only one who noticed the little critter. A number of people began to scream, especially some of the people who were at the table that the mouse chose to pass under.

Actually, a better description of those people was that they were really panic stricken. Their faces were twisted and their voices or actually their utterances were sharp, loud and full of four letter words. They all started jumping out of their chairs, actually into the air, some gaining great height on just one leap. One lady, with tears streaming from her eyes actually climbed up onto her chair, trying desperately to put as much space between herself and the floor, or should I say the mouse.

Her response was contagious, everyone in the restaurant reacted. Finally, things began to calm and people began to settle back into their seats while others literally got up and left the restaurant.

A waiter rushed forward to try and help calm things and to make sure that the mouse was gone and not still under the table. Sadly, for the mouse it too was scared and stood stark still and frozen. The waiter was then able to take a broom and very deliberately sweep him across the floor and out the door.

I do confess that I just stayed in my seat, eating my sandwich and watching with amusement. I had a few thoughts, was the mouse responsible for their histrionic behavior?

If it was,  shouldn’t the hero waiter also have become hysterical and climbed up onto a chair? Why wasn’t the waiter disturbed? Why was I still just sitting there and watching? The waiter handled the situation with as much as possible grace and perfection. He dealt with the problem without displaying any chaos or hysteria.

I realized that it is not the mouse, but the inability of the patrons to handle the disturbance caused by the mouse that was the problem.

I continued to ponder this and realized that, it is not having been told I have cancer that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the cancer that disturbs me.

Being an individual who is sometimes subject to mild road rage I also realized that it’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to a thing that creates chaos in my life. Learning to accept the reality of life and all it brings can calm and improve my quality of life.

How about you, is it the cancer or your inability to handle the disturbance?