Do you ever find yourself griping about the little things? Yes, that person who is driving way too slow in the fast lane is exactly the kind of "little thing" I am talking about. Or maybe the fact that your nail polish is starting to chip off after you just got your manicure two days ago? Anybody's anxiety flaring up, yet?
What about not getting that promotion you thought you would get and even deserved more than the guy who got it? Or, maybe the relationship you thought was going so well turned a bit south? Now, am I striking a nerve?
Well, I'm happy to say I never worry about any of these things. Okay, I lied. I worry about the "little things" all the time. I start every single day on my knees, praying for God to direct me in the manner in which He sees fit and I end that prayer time with the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
But then, I stand up and find something to worry about.
Seriously, over the last 20 years, I have gotten pretty good with the first two parts of the above prayer, but that last little piece eludes me. I don't think I am daft (despite evidence to the contrary, sometimes), but I simply don't always know what is a thing worth getting worked up over and what isn't.
And that, folks, is why I have to keep working at prayer and trusting God to direct me in all things. Left to my own devices, I can make a mountain out of a molehill and think something defines me when, in reality, it has nothing to do with me at all. And that, by the way, goes for not-so-great things or really great things that happen in my life. I seem to resemble that Billy Joel song "I Don't Know Why I Go To Extremes" that continues with the line "..too high or too low, there ain't no in-betweens" (now, I'm going to fret about the "ain't" in my blog). But the truth is: none of the things that I typically get worked up over end up impacting my life for a very long time.
You see, the little things that bug me today are typically forgotten within a week or maybe a month (if it was a really big chip in my nail polish). :) I need to pray for God to continue to reveal to me that the bigger picture is so much greater than a work situation, missed opportunity, frustration with politics, or disagreement with a spouse (not that Dave and I ever disagree, mind you). :) The bigger picture is from 30,000 feet, where I can look down and see that, over the span of a number of years, my life has been pretty amazing.
Nichole Nordeman happens to be one of my favorite singers of all time. Her song SUNRISE (click the song title to see and hear this amazing song) has always been one of the most inspiring songs. When I was recovering from breast cancer, this song was on my playlist to listen to when I ran, when I was driving, or when I just needed a lift. The words that really get me are "How would I know the morning if I knew not midnight?" I am not certain what that means for you in your own journey, but to me, it means I have had to go through a few tough times to appreciate the beauty of the desert. I have had to experience a few scary moments to appreciate the comfort of a loving and lasting relationship with Dave. We've gone through the loss of a few beautiful Labrador Retrievers to appreciate the ones we have now (and the ones we continue to foster and adopt out to loving owners). In other words, if given the chance to do things over or to have less "bad things" happen to me in my life, I would not take it. I totally believe I am who I am because of every single chipped nail I have gone through (and actually come out better for it on the other side).
Breast cancer, really? Yes! I made one of the dearest friends in my entire life because of breast cancer (yes, Rita, I am talking about you).
Not getting that job I thought I wanted? Yes! If I had been hired as a principal in Tucson in 2009, I wouldn't have gone on to get my doctorate in education that has opened up so many more opportunities in my life that I never dreamed possible!
That broken relationship? ABSOLUTELY! Nothing can compare to the life I have with Dave, complete with tears, laughter (lots of that!), and loads of love.
Missed opportunities? I prefer to call them blessings in disguise.
In the words of Garth Brooks "I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance."
I'll take the midnight to appreciate the sunrise, any day. I pray you will, too, right after you go get that chipped nail repaired.