“He that is down need fear no fall; he that is low, no pride.”~ John Bunyan.
I can think of a number of times in my life when I have stood on my high horse, determined to make a stand about something, only to have it backfire in some way. Or times when I have been congratulating myself inwardly on how clever I am at some particular task, then suddenly realized that I messed up. I once made a fuss in a supermarket about the dirty conveyor belt (meat packages had oozed out their yucky water and no-one had cleaned it up). The cashier provided me with paper towel to clean it up, and I did so with attitude! Then cleaned off my hands and threw away the paper towel in the garbage with a flourish! It was after I left the store still with my attitude about the experience when I realized I had cleaned off my little Welsh signet ring off my finger and thrown it away in the garbage!
It is usually when I am the most indignant, the most forceful in making a point that I am the most wrong. My natural tendency to impatience (I can’t wait for this elevator, where are the stairs?) means that I also love to jump to conclusions, assume I know enough facts to short cut the tedious explanations. Cut to the chase! Get to the point! The problem with this overly efficient way of thinking is that you usually end up having to apologize, acknowledging that you were wrong. Which is hard to do when you let everyone know that you are perfect in every way!
It is interesting to find that your parents are still with you, long after they are no longer on this earth. There are stories they told, things they said that still seem relevant years later. My mother was not good at letting people quit, you pushed on through regardless. It was part of your commitment to doing things right, completing tasks. It was part of the duty of being human. That was an ethic that stayed with me through my life, that it is wrong to quit. You see things through to the bitter end. And yet that is not necessarily a good thing. Part of quitting is recognizing when something is wrong. Professional athletes retire with chronic pain and injuries, evidence of times when they should have quit but were injected with pain killers or frozen with local anesthetics and sent back out onto the field. When we ignore the messages of our body telling us to rest, or to take a break, we run the risk of doing permanent damage.
In an era of excellence, of pushing yourself to new heights, we are told that giving up is a sign of weakness. Yet quitting a relationship or a job that make us unhappy requires courage. It is scary to change your life, to head out on your own, to exchange the known for the unknown, even when the known is making us miserable. And sometimes the hardest part of ending something, is acknowledging that it was not right in the first place. Imagine, we were wrong! But the beautiful thing about this life is that even when things are wrong, they can still give us amazing outcomes. Whether it is children, or opportunities, or growth, we can still identify good things that arise out of what appeared to be a bad situation.
Another of the lessons available to us, is that it is the bad that makes us appreciate the good. It is experiencing pain or illness that helps us recognize the value of good health. It is heart break that prepares us for the next love affair. If life were all roses then roses would appear mundane and unappealing. You have to know the rough to appreciate the smooth. If you have ever taken a ride on a pot-holed Jamaican road, you will never find American highways too straight and bump free!
At this point in history, those of us who are living in the US are being bombarded with negative stories, with bizarrely outrageous acts and statements on a daily basis. We are suffering from exhaustion, as norm after norm is trashed and burnt. And yet one of the pleasures of social media is that positive, uplifting stories pop up on your feed. Whether it is the group of nurses who choreographed a dance with a man recovering from a stroke, all of them using walkers to keep him company; or work being done to protect the fisheries in Jamaica; or inventions that make our planet cleaner; all around the world there are stories of hope and optimism.
On this Friday morning, I challenge you to reassess your life. Is there something that you should quit, some habit or pattern that is unhealthy to your wellbeing? It doesn’t have to be those tempting carbs, it could be the way you respond to others. Do you tend to take offence, to react defensively? Perhaps instead of getting on your high horse you could look at it from another point of view, a different perspective. Take a breath, think before you speak, and let go. And if we are all a little more patient, we may see that the end of this present stressful time is closer than we think! It is always darkest before the dawn!
Have a great weekend, Family!