“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.”Robert Louis Stevenson
Some may argue that your destiny is 100% in your control. Some say it’s completely by chance, and the rest will proclaim that it’s already written. No matter what your philosophy of this topic is, YOU are completely in control of your reactions to said situations.
The ironic part about that last sentence, is that observers may not completely understand the magnitude of your situation, because of how graciously you handle it. This is a problem for me lately, as I want my observers to know that I was hurting, but that I’m also not a victim. Grace, prayers, and time heal. I’ll get back to that…
My kid is 15. As a Sophomore in High School, Jake started this year off with a little more confidence and direction (thank God). He has a pretty solid routine, with a 50/50 split of time between Mom & Dad’s houses. I’ll admit, the Helicopter Mom in me watches his every move, emotion, and reaction… and it’s so hard for me to not wrap him in bubble-wrap. In my opinion, Jake’s no “worse for the wear” when it comes to the consequences of his parents’ past decisions. Do I wish the divorce never happened? Quite often. I’m just thankful for a good kid.
The oddest compliment was thrown at us while at a Parent/Teacher conference about 8 years ago. While Jake’s father and I sat at desks & chairs that were FAR too small for us, the teacher must have caught-on to a fact she hadn’t known all school-year. “Wait”, she said in reaction to a comment of mine. “Jake comes from a split home?”. She further went on to explain that she’d never seen such a balanced, well-mannered child come from a broken marriage, and concluded by giving us a “good job” compliment. Ouch, and thank you? (I’m not exactly sure what this teacher saw in students from divorced parents, but I chose to take this as a positive point). I’ve held on to this statement and reflected on it regularly. We must be doing something right. Prayers of protection and guidance work. Not bad-mouthing your ex in front of your child also works. Jake’s grades aren’t perfect, but he’s a gentleman, he’ll make a bum feel like a millionaire, and I’m fairly sure he’s going to change the world (if he hasn’t already). Right now, it’s the best case of a worst case scenario.
“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”Phyllis Diller
A few days ago, I sent a compliment to a girlfriend of mine via Instagram. Recently, she’s been posting vlogs and uplifting quotes & ideas, and many of her points & memes strike a nerve (good & bad). The good ones reassure and validate, and the bad ones motivate me to shift my direction. During our exchange of messages, I vaguely said ‘thank you’ for motivating me with something uplifting during this extremely metamorphic stage of my life. This may have worried her, as she extended love, prayers, and support in response. Ok, time to elaborate a bit more… so I shared the last year of my life with her (2-3 years in reality); how I lost my occupation of 17+ years to a stress-leave/workman’s comp case, how much I’ve healed, and how fragile and heartbroken I was (and occasionally still am). But also how thankful I am that God lifted me up and away from something that was slowly (or quickly) killing me, how much I needed to heal, and that there’s a greater story about to be written (all blogging puns intended). At the end of our exchange, she was glad that I was doing well. I realized that this season of my life was, again, the best case of a worst case scenario.
Occasionally, I’ll run into the familiar face of a coworker, or get a comment response on a posted social media picture. “Oh you look so relaxed”, “how’s the stress-free life?”. Comments like those spin me into a tizzy, when they should be taken as a compliment. My life was turned completely upside-down. I could go on & on about injustices, sobbing, mourning the loss of my job, limbo, and lack of communication. I choose not to. Trust me, I want to spill it all, but re-living it to validate myself doesn’t help me heal. Just because someone doesn’t play the ‘victim’ doesn’t mean they aren’t a casualty. I was sent home from my shift almost exactly 1 year ago, and as much as it occasionally stings, I’m at peace. It’s being introspective and playing the cards you’re dealt.
This epiphany derailed my way of thinking. Even though I’m outwardly not playing the victim, was I internally doing so? That’s affirmative. So right now, this week, I’m choosing to let that go. Get ready for some ego-boosting selfies. What things do you possibly take the ‘wrong way’? What are you holding on to, that prevents you from graciously accepting a compliment? How can you choose to make the best case of a worst case scenario?
Maybe what people see in my face is less stress. Maybe I am healing. Or… maybe it’s Costco’s collagen peptides kicking-in, the slathering of Avon’s old-lady nightcream, or maybe, just maybe, the mere thought of Botox?