Sunday, May 04, 2014

Elements #17

Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining - the small glimmers of hope. Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard time. And remain conscious of your blessings and victories - all the things in your life that are right. Focus on what you have, not on what you haven't.

When I first read this tidbit my reaction was actually defensive. Isn't that crazy? You see, I do try to see the silver lining in the things going on in my life, but it seems that it's mostly after the fact. When things have crested the "bad" stuff and I'm on the way back to good, it's easy to see the silver lining. But what about when things are really falling apart? What about when it's so hard that I can barely get myself out of bed in the morning? I don't think I can honestly say that I see, or even look for, the silver lining.

This week has been a challenge for certain. The most mild annoyance is that the keyboard I bought a few weeks ago for only $10 (my old one finally died after 9 years) has turned out to be less than stellar. Yes, I do know that it's almost never a good idea to buy cheap electronics, but I've been one of the lucky few who have been able to have great results with the cheap stuff. But now I'm dealing with doubled letters, missing letters, lack of capitals, or other odd things. It makes for interesting editing, that's for sure. What silver lining? On the surface I could say that I've learned not to buy cheap electronics. But I discovered that there was something else deeper than that. you see, I have to hit the keyboard rather hard to make sure everything comes out right. One day while I was working on an email to a customer I realized that I was feeling the same frustration I felt during the summer of '83 when I was learning how to type on my mother's Brother typewriter (it looked like this one). My pinkies would get caught between the keys, my fingers felt bruised within a couple sentences, the "correction" tape didn't work so I always smelled like spilled White-Out, and I had moments when I never again wanted to hear about the lazy dog or the quick fox. But one day, late in the summer when it was too hot to do much of anything, I got that whole sentence onto the sheet of paper with no mistakes and without looking at the keys. I remembered, as I was pounding this new keyboard, that feeling of satisfaction that came over me and how happy I was that I'd finally typed the whole thing without getting my fingers stuck, without hitting two keys at the same time, and without a mistake. That was the silver lining over this minor annoyance a my new keyboard's failings.

The other stuff that I'm going through is a little more challenging to see the true silver lining and not just the one on the surface. I'm still looking for a place to live and I've begun packing the house again. I could easily say that this is giving me the opportunity to clear out some junk, but the reality is that I did that before I moved here. I have much more business stuff than personal stuff so there isn't much to get rid of. I could say that it will be another fresh start. I could say that it's a good exercise in patience and dealing with stress. But none of those really ring true as deeper. So I thought about it some more (pretty much the whole week as I called various places and people). I thought about how many times we moved when I was a kid and how frustrated my mother must have been about it all. I thought about the fact that we had no pets for a very long time and how we were never in one place for longer than a year. And I thought about how challenging it will be when I'm ready to move. I don't mean to the next apartment or the next rental, I mean to my house. The one I pick out when I'm ready. That isn't really a silver lining since it's still only a dream in my heart, but it's there. With this next move, I'm doing something on my own, with no input from someone else. No one is helping me find a new place, no one is scoping it out for me, it's just me and Brianna. Why could this be a silver lining? Because for the first time since 2000, I am doing this. And that is scary. There won't be another person to blame if I don't like the place, there will be no one else to feel anger toward if something doesn't come through, and there won't be something to fall back on if it fails. That is a deeply frightening situation for me. Stability, security... they are gone until this all pans out. And I'm learning just how strong I really am. Yes, I have dreams of the little house I'll have one day and I do know that I'll get there. But right now? I'm learning about my own mettle. Perhaps not as life-changing as some of the other things going on, but still unsettling, nonetheless. And so, I think my deeper silver lining is that I'm getting to know Me. And, for the most part, I really like that.

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