Perspective… it’s something that often rears its ugly head at the most unusual times. When you least expect it and you just want to feel sorry for yourself and think your world is as bad as it gets.
Then reality hands you a giant ‘for instance’ pie in the face and you understand your life isn’t really that bad and that maybe sucking it up isn’t that bad of an option. What about that 37-year-old woman who just died of cancer, who was also a mother and a wife? What about the wife/mother who has just became a single mother when her husband was instantly killed in a car accident by a drunk driver? What about that man in his early 40s who was just diagnosed with brain cancer, given months, if not weeks, to live, who is also a husband and father? Or that family who has waited over a decade to just find out what happened that night to their husband/father and why did he disappear?
When you think life has given you a crap sandwich, the unfortunate matter is a bigger crap sandwich and crap sundae has probably been given to someone else to deal with in their own life.
Four and a half years ago, in the same month that my husband of almost two years and I celebrated the joyous occasion of the birth of our first son together, we also buried his 18-year-old son (my stepson) after he died of a massive head injury from a four-wheeling accident. Now I believe the perspective of that situation is it does not get much worse than having to watch a parent bury his own child, who also was incidentally his own personal ‘mini me.’ I agree with people when they say that it is unnatural for a parent to bury a child because it is the intention that they will out live us and show us how life is supposed to be lived. My stepson was so full of life that no adventure would probably have never tamed him. His fearlessness was often admirable. But his recklessness was a lesson that too many young adults should be reminded of on a daily basis like one of those routine updates for their cell phones.
You know that old saying, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” I beg to differ, I believe he gives us the tools to help us handle the most difficult situations we are left to endure and it is our decision to use what has been laid before us for support, guidance, courage, and sometimes sheer will to just take another breathe. I believe the tools are provided through the support of our friends and family, support groups, our faith in God, and so much more. But too many people fall into a darker place where the only options seem to be depression, anger, anxiety, isolation, drinking and drugs.
My situation right now in my life, I know is merely a bump in the road, and hopefully just a blip on the radar. But right now everything causes me to stress out even though only one thing in my life remains outside of my control. And this one thing neither defines me nor will ever cause the things that really matter in my life to change. And perspective is what helps put everything into focus that really needs to matter and make the other things that don’t go pear-shaped around me.
I don’t want to say I think I’m better off than any of those other people facing pain and devastation because I don’t truly know that I am. But I understand the blessings that have been provided me. Maybe they become a little hazy at times because my priorities become out of whack for a split second. And while my life may still have a bit of that nasty ooze dripping from the sides, from the inside I know it’s still my fun chaotic life filled with the shrieks of laughter of two little boys; a toy room filled with dinosaurs and trucks; the love and support of my husband who is also my closest friend; and, of course, those imaginary animals swinging in the trees and swimming through our house on a regular basis. (My four-year-old has an imagination that just doesn’t stop and I hope it never does.)
Sometimes a little perspective is all a person needs to understand that the present crisis may not be a true crisis at all. But rather a stepping stone to learn how to become an even more courageous person who is willing to test their strength and endurance against the next challenge to come down the pike. Strength is often a learned trait forced upon by life when no other option prevails.
For right now, my mantra is “This too shall pass.”