Adjusting the Focus
VIEW: It is what we make of it

My bedroom window is filthy.

Seriously filthy. It’s been that way for about three months. Before that it was just dirty.

When I tried to clean it, however, I created a major problem.

The window is a double-glazed unit, which means it contains two sheets of glass inside a frame with a five-millimetre air gap between the sheets to keep out the cold.

Before I climbed onto the roof of the downstairs extension to wash the thing, the problem was on the outside of the outer sheet.

While I was washing it, however, soapy water seeped through the seal and dripped into the gap.

The streaks were ugly right away, but as the window heated in the sun and cooled at night for the next few months, condensation marks spread across the inner surfaces, so now I am doing some research on and am looking at a complicated construction job instead of a minor cleaning chore.

The window will have to be removed from the wall, taken apart, cleaned, reassembled and refitted, or it will have to be replaced with a new one.

Either way, there will be a lot of trim work and I won’t be able todo all of it myself, so it’s going to be expensive.

I was thinking about those things this morning as I sat in bed looking at the window, or more to the point, looking at the streaks on the inner surfaces of the two window panes.

The thoughts did not put me in a cheerful mood… but then I changed my focus and looked straight through the marks to see the trees, plants and grass behind the glass.

It’s an unusually attractive and peaceful view for suburban England, and it is a huge part of what I bought eight years ago when I purchased my house here.

When I started seeing the bigger picture instead of just the window, I cheered up and even started looking forward to tackling the repair project.

I like new challenges because they usually teach me something, and I’m not a big fan of minor chores such as cleaning windows, so my failed washing effort could prove to be a good thing in the long run.

Humm… does that sound a bit rich?

I mean, I prefer construction to cleaning, but I like cleaning a lot more than throwing money into repairing something I’ve damage myself, so I still wish I’d taken a spray-bottle of glass cleaner up the ladder instead of a bucket and sponge.

I guess that means things don’t steadily get better as we step back farther and farther from our problems.

But maybe that isn’t a bad thing. I don’t want a set formula for dealing with my problems and I don’t want to spend too much time retreating from them, but I’m glad to know I can adjust my focus to help me concentrate on the things I can control.

Of course, if I stepped back far enough,I might stop wanting to repair the window and decide to keep itas a reminder thatI constantly need to adjust my focus.

From where I stand at the moment, though, I really would like a clear window.

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