Friday, December 6, 2013

Life's Little Potholes

Yes, that's a pothole.  Anyone who has traveled on a road, whether paved, dirt or sanded, has dealt with them.  They tear up our tires and vehicle and can slam our jaws together tighter than an old lady's corset.  My particular pothole is sitting in the middle of the Road of Life---MY life.  And I've hit it.  Why?  I don't know.  It is what it is.

When this happens, when we hit that pothole, we're stunned.  Then we're shaken.  How much damage has been done?  Other than to my jaw, teeth, and nerves, that is.  I drive a little down the road, only to notice that my steering wheel is insisting I veer to the right.  Flat tire?  I stop, get out and check it, and see that the tire is fine.  Back in the car, I fight the direction the car wants to take me.  The pothole has messed up the alignment.  Just what I don't need right now.

As the French say, "C'est la vie."  Such is life.  We get slammed when we least expect it and least need it.  The first reaction is anger.  I don't like to feel angry.  I don't like that dark, ugly feeling inside.  I want light and pretty.  I do what I can to keep that period of anger as short as possible.  The anger turns to frustration, and the tears begin.  I don't want to cry.  I want to be able to smile, but my emotions have been shaken and bottomed out.  Just how much damage was done to the underneath of my car?  Panic sets in.  Can this be repaired?  If not, what's next?

We've all heard about the stages of grief. There are five of them.  Here's a quick summary.
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance
When something traumatic hits us, we go through these 5 stages.  It may take minutes, it may take years.  The length of time of each the stages varies with each person.  They don't always happen in that order.  Some are even skipped.  For me, the Denial stage was, "You've got to be kidding.  Really??"  Yes, there's a tad bit of Anger in that one. :)

Eventually, we come to Acceptance.  The car is out of alignment, there's a dent in the undercarriage, but it's all fixable.  It's only going to take some time.  Oh, and some money, too.  But at least the car will not have to be replaced.  So we do what is necessary to get us back on the road again.

What we don't do is give up.  We don't curl up in a ball and tell the world to go away.  We do what is necessary to make things right for ourselves, then we move on.  Yeah, probably to hit another pothole down the road, but if we've learned to keep a watch on the road and we've learned that we can avoid those potholes--not always, but often--a bad thing eventually becomes a not bad thing.  Maybe even a good one.

Life is full of lessons, just like roads are full of potholes.  They get us when we least expect it.  Go ahead and get angry.  Get it all out.  Just don't let it rule your life.  Make your life better because of it.

All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~ Walt Disney

No comments: