Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weather- or Not...


I know Forrest Gump said that Life is like a box of chocolates, but for
me, living in the Piedmont of North Carolina, Life is like the weather:
we never know what's going to happen and when it does, we're
usually not happy with it. Kind of like "Life"...

So much of what happens to us is truly and totally out of our control.
People disappoint or delight. Jobs are fulfilling or dead boring- or
cease to exist. Friends betray or are true-blue. The trip for which
we had been planning and saving for the past year is a mixed bag of
"Wow!" and "Oh, no, enough already," or "Is that all there is?" And
our bodies- even our bodies, that which is closest to us, that which
houses our essence- sag and bag, work well occasionally, but also
tire more easily and just aren't as flexible as they once were. And
when you roll out of bed in the morning, you're never quite sure
which you'll be dealing with: a well-oiled machine or a rusted-out
wreck.

And just like dealing with the weather- which comes and goes totally
without our input or control, much to our dismay- the happenings of
everyday life assault us, confront us, are in-our-face, whether we
want them to be or not. And like our reaction to the weather- "When
will the warm weather ever get here?" "Haven't we had enough rain?"
"Why did it get so hot so fast?" "I wonder if we'll have a long, dry
summer."- we grumble and complain and are rarely satisfied with
what is right in front of us.

And yet...and yet...the reality of Life, of living, is that it rarely goes
the way we expect it to go, rarely gives us the results we expected or
hoped for- at least not in the way we hoped for. Just like the
unexpectedness and variability of the weather in this neck of the
woods, Life hands us surprise after surprise- sometimes to our utter
delight, sometimes to our total dismay. As with Forrest's box of
chocolates, we just don't really know what will happen until we've
taken a bite, and- unless you're just completely gauche and ill-
mannered- you can't throw back the ones you don't like once you've
tasted them.

That's the way of things. That's the way of Life. And though we
can't control the events, for the most part, we can control one
important thing: how we handle whatever Life throws at us. Do we
gripe and complain, letting everyone around us know just how
miserable we are and how unfairly Life has dealt with us? Or do
we take the hand we've been dealt and play it out, laughing with
both consternation and delight, whether we win or lose the game?


Every time I find myself kvetching (look it up- it's a wonderful
Yiddish word), I picture the Mother Lion God grasping me by the
nape of the neck, shaking me a little (not always gently), and then
setting me down in a place where I can see someone- perhaps
many someones- who are facing things far more demanding and
devastating than my own small, often-petty grievances. And She
does it with such understanding love that I realize that, no matter
what befalls me, no matter how I handle it- or don't- that grace-
filled, loving presence will be there through it all, turning me in
the right direction, shaking me when I need shaken, licking my
wounds, and always providing the nourishment I need to see me
through.

So, the next time I complain to you about the weather here in
this lovely, blossom-strewn part of the world,  remind me that
my choice in the midst of all this giftedness is to see it as gift
or to turn my back on the wonder of the everyday. God willing,
I'll celebrate the NOW, no matter how hot or cold, wet or dry,
because this is Life, and it is all I- all any of us- have.


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