It was my first trip to Rome. I had finally made the time to visit one of the cities of my dreams, and I was excited. The cab let me out in front of the Hotel Eliseo, near the Via Veneto, and the reception desk manager told me I had a room on the first floor.
“Do you have a room with a view?” I asked.
He paused, deliberated purposefully, and let me know in no uncertain terms that he was doing me a great favor by giving me a room on the fifth floor. “A panoramic view!” he exclaimed.
The bellhop helped me get my bags to the room. I walked to the balcony and took in a breathtaking view of the city. It couldn’t have been lovelier.
Suddenly I heard a noise I can liken only to a violent earthquake. It was coming from the wall behind the headboard of my bed—a great shaking and gnashing of steel. After a little investigation, I discovered it was the elevator equipment. Every time somebody pushed the elevator button, I was treated to that monstrous rumbling.
Then it hit me: what a metaphor for life! The perfect view accompanied by the elevator shaft. The good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, side by side.
Some people try to deny the elevator shafts in life, but that’s hard to do and pretending they aren’t there doesn’t change anything. Others never notice the panoramic view. They can’t get past the noise the elevator is making.
Neither denial nor negativity serves us well. Wisdom accepts the good and the bad but chooses to pay more attention to the good. Wise travelers in life don’t dismiss the bad. If they can do something about it, they do. But if they can’t, they don’t bemoan what they can’t change.
It isn’t that we get the view or the rumbling; most of the time we get both. But you and I choose which we focus on. We can dwell on the ugly or the beautiful.