Friday, December 11, 2009

Cloudy, With a Chance of Anything

I've been thinking this week about my first responses in life. When I'm faced with a crisis, a disappointment, a diagnosis...I'm pretty predictable. My immediate response is usually a little self talk in the form of calming myself down. I take a deep breath, say "Okay, Mary", and then one of two things happens: 1) I do the next logical thing and take action, or 2) I burst into tears.

I've learned to keep myself in task-oriented mode - especially when it comes to work crises - but I have my limits there too. For example, work has been horribly busy lately, and last week was one HR disaster after another. I think I got to Thursday before I completely lost it.  Oh if only I could talk in detail about work in the blog - let me tell you, I would have some stories for you. But instead we'll just say it was a week of Murphy's Law. I had done as much as I could to keep all the balls in the air, but one comment from my boss at the tail end of a very long day was all it took to downgrade "task-oriented mode" to "incoherent crying mode". I would prefer never to cry at work, EVER. I feel like it negates all professionalism and reiterates to the 120 men I work with (out of 126 employees total) that oh yes, I am a girl. But I am human, and having been at this company working with mostly the same people for the last 7 years, from time to time it just happens. Shoot, I consider it an accomplishment that it took me four days to get to that point the way last week went.

But sometimes, when I skip "task oriented mode" altogether, things decline at a rapid pace. I received a bad report that I wasn't expecting from my doctor this week, and in a matter of minutes I'm ashamed to say that I found myself asking God "why me again?" when I didn't even have a diagnosis yet. I was looking ahead to what the diagnosis could be, and blaming God for something that didn't even exist yet. It only took a minute or two for my brain to stop me, and remind me that I had a choice here. We have a choice how we wait. And I was choosing badly. I stopped and prayed for forgiveness for jumping right to that place, for peace, and for the patience to wait. And I made a choice right there not to go where I don't have to go yet. 

I read the book, "Keep A Quiet Heart" by Elisabeth Elliot several years ago. It is one of the best devotional books I've ever found, and there was one particular theme that has continued to stand out to me over the years. One of the chapters was titled, "Do Not Forecast Grief". As I let that sink in I couldn't believe how much time in my life I've spent forecasting heartache and pain and struggles that never occurred. And ten years after first reading that quote, I can look back and see that the traumas and tragedies that have affected me the most are the ones that I never saw coming. I never spent a day worrying about them because I couldn't have imagined they would ever happen to me.

As that quote popped into my mind Tuesday, it was the perfect reminder to only take on what today has for me. To remember who holds my future. It's sad to think that I've spent so many good days worrying about how bad the next one might be. The fact that I'm sitting here today is evidence that I have made it through every single thing life has thrown at me, relatively intact. My experiences have made me who I am, and each one has changed me in one way or another. To some degree, it's that change I'm afraid of. The mystery of who I will be on the other side if I have to cross this next bridge. It's so easy to get comfortable with who we are, so easy to stop growing and challenging ourselves when left to our own devices. Unfortunately, we probably all need a little shake up every now and then. We were never meant to stay where we started from.

Maybe one day I will finally learn to welcome change, but today, I'll settle for accepting that it's out of my hands and in much, much wiser ones.

"When we prayed 'Thy will be done', did we suppose he did not hear us? He heard indeed, and daily makes our business His, and partakes of our lives. If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now."
Elisabeth Elliot

1 comment:

  1. great post, mary. and i love that elisabeth elliot quote.