Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grace Under Fire

Four seemingly unrelated observations from this last week:

My almost two-year old niece is learning the sign for frustrated. When she’s frustrated, she can now show her emotion through an appropriate gesture rather than a temper tantrum. Wow. Do I even know an appropriate, civil gesture for expressing similar adult emotions?

In one of our new books, the mommy tells her child, “I cannot tell you what to do and then do something completely different, because then you will not trust me, and it would be difficult for you to follow my advice.” Have my actions, especially of late, been an example for my children?

Some bad things have happened in the world this week. The tragedy in Japan filled our minds, and some friends of mine dealt with some pretty tough life lessons. I wondered how I will one day explain to Emily and Drew that bad things happen because--well, they just do. Have I even learned how to place bad things into the proper perspective?

I was walking into a school today trying to balance a box full of supplies, chart paper, a laptop bag, and a cup of hot coffee. I probably should have made two trips but I wanted to save time. Once I made the decision to take it all at once, it was too late to turn back. There was no place to stop between my car and the front office. Huffing and puffing, my arms burned from the strain of the box. My feet ached in my heels. As I took the last few steps, a feeling of pride overtook the pain. Not only did I have all of my materials, none had coffee stains on them. Who says I can’t be graceful under pressure?

Recently, life, and my job in particular, has put me in situations that have frustrated me, challenged me, disappointed me, tested me, and burdened me.

In some cases, I did not express my frustration in an adult manner. (Thank goodness I spend lots of time in the car--by myself).

Other times, I did not react in the same way I would have wanted Drew or Emily to react. I was not the role model I know I should be.

There have been days when I lost perspective, forgetting that bad things happen, and sometimes, we don’t deserve it. I internalized the slights and let others determine my worth.

Finally, as I drove home today, I suddenly realized that the box struggle from earlier today was a metaphor for the recent turmoil I have experienced. Yes, the walk was hard. But my decisions, both positive and negative, influenced the situation and the outcome. I didn't choose how heavy the burden was to carry, but I did chose to walk it alone. I was strong and smiled through it all, graciously offering a sincere thank you to the nice man who held the door open. It hurt, but I made it—with a full cup of coffee in hand.

And, that’s where the four seemingly unrelated observations came together. Being a mom has given me a new standard for dealing with such struggles. I was reminded that my actions should always be in line with my beliefs because when they’re not, I feel most out of sorts, most conflicted. Instead of acting out of frustration, allowing the bad things to mold me or confound me, I will strive to rise above, remembering that ultimately, my children are watching, learning from me.

Look, Em and Drew, Mommy didn’t drop the box.


Holly Ann said...

Very powerful, excellent post.

Mary said...

I'm so glad you didn't drop the box ... :)

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