Que Sera, Sera?
(by Mir, @ wouldashoulda,com)
I think everyone has at least one friend or relative who plays Buddha. You know what I mean—we all know someone who seems to be in a perpetual state of Zen and acceptance no matter what. And just to be clear, I am not that person. I am never that person. Me, I tend more towards Chicken Little. While the calmer folks are busy "what will be, will be"ing, I'm screaming about the sky falling. Acceptance is not, shall we say, my forte. Never has been.
It's a funny thing about getting older and gaining perspective, though. The older I get, the more things I survive, the more some of those trite sayings that used to make me want to punch people in the face start feeling… true. My latest favorite is, "Everything works out okay in the end. If it isn't okay, it isn't the end." But there's also…
… everything that came before brought me to right here.
… there's a reason for everything, whether we know it or not.
… things have a way of working out.
Sure, when I'm in the midst of things that make me feel like nothing can ever be good again, I'm more apt to point out that the sky is falling than I am to assume the lotus position and declare that the universe is unfolding exactly as it ought to. It never feels good to deal with stress and unhappiness. The difference, now, is that I can look back on some of the truly awful things in my life and see that I survived and—in many cases—am stronger and/or lucky for it. The trick is to be able to remember that in the midst of unpleasantness.
Sometimes it's relatively easy stuff. Like, I didn't have my tonsils out until I was an adult. Not only was the immediate aftermath of the surgery terrible, I didn't resume feel normal for over a month. It was truly awful, and I felt very sorry for myself, and I had reached the point of "I am never going to be well again" before things improved. But afterward—when I went from having strep nearly constantly to never having it again—it was easy to see that it was absolutely the right decision, with a happy outcome. On the other hand, anyone who's been through a difficult divorce can tell you that it's the sort of thing you don't wish on your worst enemy. During the roughest parts, I found myself wishing I had just never gotten married in the first place. After all, I'm now married to a guy I met long before I ever met my first husband; maybe if I'd just married him in the first place, everything would've been better!
But then I think about the twists and turns that led to where I am now, and I know there's a hundred reasons why it couldn't have (shouldn't have) happened any other way. The reasons start with my two amazing children and end with the absolute agreement my husband and I have about how we were both such jerks when we met, any relationship started then would've been doomed.
Or… a few years back I finally talked my husband into getting a dog. And I found a dog on PetFinder and we went to visit him and he was terrified and basically feral, but a young lady at the "rescue" (I use that term loosely) suggested we foster him for a week to see if he would come around. We took him home, gave him a bath and picked a zillion ticks off of him, and shortly thereafter he slipped through our fence and proceeded to gallop around our neighborhood, evading capture, for about a week before he disappeared from sight entirely. It was traumatic (for me; I think he thought it was a wonderful game). But afterward we did a lot of research, talked to dog expert, found a reputable rescue, and eventually ended up with the lovable mutt we have now—possibly the world's most perfect dog.
What came before, led to now. What is awful now, may shape what comes next… in unexpected and wonderful ways, even.
I may never be the Zen sort. I may always find myself mired in the now when times are tough, having trouble seeing out of the current pit. But if I keep reminding myself of the ways in which past catastrophes have yielded unexpected blessings, maybe I can stop worrying about the sky falling. Maybe I'll be able to remember that, no matter what, the sky does seem able to stay up there where it belongs. Maybe I can, too.
Are you an "everything works out in the end" sort? What keeps you going in tough times?
(for more Mir, go here)