First Bob forgot to set his alarm and woke up late. He rushed to morning court for his divorce hearing and his attorney lost his case. On his way to work the check engine light came on and he had to call Triple A for help. The lab called – his biopsy came back positive … then the bank called – he was overdrawn … then no one called … because his cell phone went dead.

Oh my gosh! Is it possible to have anything good to look forward to after a day like that?

Like Bob, I’ve had terrible days that I thought would never end, days so discouraging and painful that I wanted to pack a small bag and take off. But running away wasn’t an option for me – too many responsibilities, appointments, bills, parents needing help – I had to stick around. So instead I came up with something I could actually look forward to at the end of any terrible day.

I decided to adopt the sunset as a signal to me that my bad day was over. A thing of natural beauty became a notice of closure in my difficult daily world. As I watched the sun silently dip below the Western horizon I would truthfully tell myself that the day would very soon end, as would the chances of any more bad things happening to me.

This mindset made me start thinking about the sunset (the sign that this bad day was over) in the late afternoon and the anticipation of it took my mind off whatever hell I had been going through. Sometimes I would drive down to west-facing Titlow Park in Tacoma, sit on a worn bench by the water and feel my therapy happen as that fat orange ball set to the West. It was good medicine that treated many sick days in my troubled times. Thankfully things are better for me now, and for Bob too! Occasionally, though, I will have a day when it feels like everything is going wrong – it happens to all of us – and that is when I remember my pleasant technique to contain and set aside a bad day and prepare for a better day tomorrow.

I go watch the sun set.