Hello all. You know how sometimes in life, you’re cruising along, things seem to be going pretty well, life is tolerable. Then you have a bump. A shoulder-check in the school hallway of life, you might say. But it’s ok, maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe they just didn’t see you there. You know, it’s not like you were pants-ed and shoved in a locker, right? So you keep walking, and then before you see it coming, you’ve bypassed entirely the experience of being pants-ed and lockered, and graduated to the full-on upside down swirly in the boys’ gym room toilet?
Well, that’s the direction my life took today. The career opportunity I had been holding onto… fell out from under me with reckless abandon. My financial outlook… took a spectacular engine-on-fire, parachutes-at-the-ready, spiraling nosedive. My plans for a big, special, once in a lifetime trip with my kids next May… almost certainly flatlined on the table with no paddles in sight. Without using a multiplicity of metaphors (but another ellipsis) … today stank.
Now see, I’m usually what you might call a Negative Nancy. In fact, my just-married co-worker calls me that almost daily. She sees and calls me out on my tendency toward intense pessimism. And usually, when bad stuff happens, (like the other day at work when I found out it was going to cost almost $600 to repair the damage my stupidity did to my car)I fall into a despair, have a weeping meltdown, and worry endlessly about what in the wide blessed world I’m going to do about it! I felt like doing that today, when one thing after another came crashing down on my head. I did actually indulge in a little crying to Mommy as I was driving home from work, and I did text my counsellor, even though she’s in another state, and I did share the story with a few chosen customer friends, but I didn’t completely go nuclear as I was tempted to do.
See, just the other day on Facebook, a friend of mine posted a quote. It was a pretty good one, so I’ll share it with you: “The key to happiness is to count your blessings when other people are adding up their troubles.” Or something like that. So today I fought against my normal tendency to get mad and worry and fret and stew and get all terrified about what is going to happen. I decided to make a firm effort to think positive. As I was performing my closing chores at work, I was mentally going down the list of all the good things in my life. Here is most of what I came up with:
I have friends and family who love and support me, I have a roof over my head, my car and my house have air-conditioning, I have a job, I have transportation to my job, I have the intelligence and education to go find another job if I have to, I have my health, I have my kids, they have their health, I have food to eat, my kids aren’t hungry, I have all my senses and all my limbs, God always watches over us and protects us, and we can immerse ourselves in the Word and in prayer when we just flat don’t know what else to do.
Now right before I was thinking all these wonderful positive things, I was deciding what to post on Facebook about all this. (Because you know, I’m one of those Facebookers.) My first choice was, “They say when it rains, it pours. Well somebody pass me some scuba gear, because I’m going under!” But then I wondered how I could turn that concept around and make it positive. I felt like I was drowning in troubles, and I came up with… you guessed it. The title of this entry: I’m not drowning, I’m free-diving for oyster pearls! See, because I have heard somewhere how those pearl divers just sink down as low as they can go without equipment, hold their breath for incredible amounts of time, and keep searching until they find oysters with amazing, priceless pearls in them! So despite the fact that things are incredibly bleak right now, I truly am cognizant of the fact that it is often in the lowest depths of difficulty that we find our richest blessings and goodnesses. Even though I am tempted to worry and fret and fear, I believe in that truth, and I depend on it. I have to, or I’d go completely insane.
So truthfully, I’m not giving up on anything just yet. I’m not cancelling the cruise, because I have until about March to cancel and still get a full refund. I’m going to put pencil to paper and see what all I can tighten, cut, trim, and forbearance into eternity. I’m not going to fret, worry, or sell a kidney on the black market. I’m going to work and pray and trust, and try to listen to what this might be telling me. I have a few ideas. Well, one, actually. I think maybe God’s telling me I need to get back to teaching. Or maybe He’s just telling me to go get a job at one of the factories or warehouses around here, where they have insurance and 401k’s and better money than I’m making now. We’ll see. I’ve been afraid to try to return to the classroom, but maybe I just needed the right motivation! In closing, I’m reminded of a lyric from a song by Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, “I Learned From You.” The pertinent parts are:
…I do not crumble,
… Strength is something you choose.
Until next time,