Its been a tough winter. I suppose winters usually are.
Snow traps people in their homes, or worse, on the roads. Trees break and splinter. Mud and debris roll down the hills. Water floods though homes and businesses. Wind rips both dead and living things from their clutches and screeches angrily in the night.
Like the cold and blustery weather of winter, difficulties and tribulations can seem to pour down in torrents, roaring through the streets of hearts like raging rapids. When problems continue surging in, they begin to stack up against the mind like drifts of snow. They block and inhibit, making people feel trapped. Stuck. There’s just so much that could go wrong. Often, we try to tip toe through — fingers crossed — prayers said — trying to not wake or disturb the difficulties where they slumber in the trees, barely dangling, like a drip collected on a facet.
Sometimes tip toeing works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Quietly and without warning, a single drop of difficulty falls. Despite its silent floating decent, it hits the earth with force, and shakes the tree. Other drips hit. They hit our home, our health, our dwindling savings account. We gnaw at our own nerves until they bleed. As the quandaries rage on, all we can do is buckle down and try to catch the drips with strategically positioned buckets.
Ask friends for more buckets. Trade buckets. Take turns holding the buckets. Whatever it takes. Have you noticed, lately, there has not been enough buckets to go around? There’s a bucket shortage, it seems — and a surplus of drips.
Having painted this delightful picture, one might understand why I was tempted to become angry this morning at the discovery of yet another drip. I determined, if everyone had a bowl to place over their heads, to block the downpour of trouble, I’m pretty sure mine would be a strainer. But as I look around, I realize many people’s bowls are strainers. When does too much become too much? Its frustrating, to say the least. Its during times like this I find, it’s extremely tempting to feel victimized.
However, often times, allowing ourselves to feel victimized triggers an instinct to hit our knees and drop our hands down to our sides, fingers dragging in the mud. Defeated. This impulse allows the host of victimization to rest. The act of giving up numbs the oppressed mind and modifies the injured senses. In a way, its reassuring. Only, its not. It’s a lie.
THINGS THAT WE ARE:
•Living in a world that has always been full of trial, and always will be.
THINGS THAT WE ARE NOT:
Feeling victimized is generated by circumstance. However, neither victim nor circumstance has to be a definer. We are not prisoners of our circumstance. We are prisoners only of our disposition.
"I have learned from experienced that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” -Martha Washington
I see the struggles people are facing. I see yours. I experience mine. The advice I have to offer is the same advice I need to take. Take action. Lift battered knees off the ground. Wipe off the mud. Work on not just the circumstance, but also — and maybe more importantly — work on your nature and disposition. Your outlook.
"Take action. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of you own life. Action is the antidote to apathy and cynicism and despair. You will inevitably make mistakes but at the end of your days, you will be remembered for your gallop, not for your stumble.” -Bradley Whitford
I understand there are levels of difficult circumstances and taking the above advice is not easy. I have a friend who just recently told me that she had lost her young children in an accident, thirty years ago now. It hit me like a sledgehammer of sadness. Can you believe, she reached out and comforted me?! She told me it was alright. She knew her beautiful children were safe, and loved, where they were.
Faced with even the most difficult circumstance, my friend found a way to take action. It had to have been the hardest thing she had ever done. But she did. Her gentle nature and strong disposition changed her outlook, and I get to share her story with you because she didn’t give up.
And so, I check my anger this morning. I lean heavily on the good and playful-hearted nature inside of me to change my attitude and my outlook. After all, the dryer quitting, the floods corroding my driveway, a leaky roof, and a dead calf is not the end. I am very blessed. This I know.
"The great master key to riches is nothing more or less than the self-discipline necessary to help you take full and complete possession of your own mind. Remember, it is profoundly significant that the only thing over which you have complete control is your own mental attitude.” -Napoleon Hill
May your buckets be numerous and your drips be few.