Things we hate are a type of surrender. Holidays that rub us the wrong way, weather that distorts our faces, or a person in the family that we’d rather pretend does not exist. We all have our pet peeves. There are inconveniences and there are challenges that threaten our lives. This blog is not about the life or death circumstances that are more than a major bump in the road. This blog is about those annoying circumvents that make us snap at a coworker or growl our way to the car.
I really detest Halloween. Fear is the opposite of love and I just as soon fill my days in love and ways to get there. Halloween pushes the buttons on fear, from the Hollywood maze of motion picture gore to the costumes that don weapons and torture to walk the halls of elementary schools, Halloween praises it all. It would be easy to roll into a cave and leave a note at the entrance, “Wake me when it’s over.”
Well, I have kids who don’t always reflect on the same attitudes in the realm of what is disturbing. They all celebrate Halloween. They spend hundreds on costumes in coordinate, parties, and movies galore. In youth, we are immortal. Death is so far away, the infiltration of its fingers against our throat with the Grim Reaper at its side, is further than a fantasy away. Death is a mishap of some distant future that is further off than the horizon of life. As we get older, death creeps up from behind and we are always on guard. Thus, they celebrate Halloween. I gringe and pretend.
Halloween taught me to embrace those things I have an aversion to. It’s the relationships that I embrace on a holiday so foreign to my taste. It’s a chance to go for a walk with my adult children and grandchildren as we meet neighbors door to door. It’s a chance to meet up with my youngest who adores the creativity of the festivities. The fact that I show up in costume is superficial. It’s the fact that family gathers that really matters. In every aversion, there is a silver lining waiting on our praise. If we embrace those things that sour our face, there is always something of value in the experience.
Sometimes, our anger or our fear will stand in the way of putting one foot ahead of the other. If we consider that life is fluid rather than a sequence of frozen moments lined up in order, then we can see through the hesitation. If life is fluid, then as we flow, we can embrace the directions we were meant to tarry. The old addage that God does not give us anything we can’t handle is a tough one to swallow. How many of us were dealt cards of evil intent from others, or the circumstance where we couldn’t come to the rescue of someone we love? How many of us have faced challenges that nearly took our lives? How did we fair in the face of fear and a grip on denial? Perhaps God does not give us anything harder than we can handle. Whether He does or He doesn’t, it does not dismiss the asuridy that sometimes, we don’t have a choice. In the case of the hardest of hearts and the hardest of circumstance, we hold on to the flow, not the frozen frame.
Like the good wife in labor, she will give birth, no matter the pain or circumstances. She has no choice. Being in a profession that demands the impossible, my colleagues stand at the precipice of the most absurd tasks, i.e., public school teaching against a backdrop of clueless government, and arrogant, ignorant beurocrats who make “slaughter” their middle name. It’s an interesting ride. I decided long ago that squeezing blood from a turnip could, quite possibly be the public school motto.
Thus, learning how to go with the flow bends our willow branches into the river that tries in desperation to drown us in apathy. This is not unlike some relationships we have endured. If we are to survive the beatings in life, the best plan of action is to view it all as a fluid journey. It never stands still. It is constantly ebbing and flowing. Embrace the waves of the impossible. Find the joy in everything, no matter how small the amount. Focus on that turnstyle and ride with the wind at your back and joy at your side, if only for the realization that “this too shall pass.”
In my profession, it is so complicated and detrimental to the survival of mental health, the only thing we can do to make it to the next day is smile at the ludicrous place that we stand. If there is no joy, then step back and embrace the humor in it all. Sometimes, the humor is joy enough. If we surrender even once to depression, then the intent, chance or otherwise, will surely prevail.