I had a not fun day at work this week and found myself on the pity pot on my drive home. I knew I didn’t want to throw a complete pity party, so I promised myself that I would adjust my attitude. And in the process of doing just that, I ended up contemplating the way we look at our lives.
After I got home from work that day, I went on Facebook to catch up with friends and family. I thought it would help me forget about my awful day and would put a smile on my face. In the last year I’ve reconnected with several classmates from high school. It’s been fun and interesting to find out where we’ve all ended up all these (dare I say thirty-five) years later. One of those friends is a single mom, struggling to make ends meet, trying to do the best for her children. This friend slipped and fell on ice this winter, suffering a nasty break to one of her legs. She’s been homebound for weeks and absolutely miserable. I can’t imagine what she’s going through. But seeing her comment about another boring, frustrating, insufferable day stuck in her apartment made my awful day at work seem not so bad.
Another of my high school friends published a collection of short stories a couple of years ago, stories taken from his life’s experiences. I recently re-read one of his stories about how for much of his life he yearned for affirmation from his mom. Just once he wanted her to tell him how proud she was of him or that he had done a great job at something. Instead she always had something negative to say. I wonder if my children feel that way. Re-reading the story reminded me of my own childhood, growing up the youngest of eight kids. We were always competing for attention and affirmation. One of my brothers, the fifth child, harbors such strong feelings about the lack of affirmation that he received as a child that when he comes across someone else from a big family he will say, “I’m sorry.”
A couple of weeks ago I lamented to a bible study group about how I’m always praying for a sign from God as to what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. For the last few years I’ve felt trapped and unsatisfied in many ways. Since I’m not happy, I presumed that I must not be doing what God intends for me. Just as God gave Noah detailed instructions of how and when to build an ark, and how He talked with Moses and showed Moses and his people how to find their way out of the desert, I’ve been praying for a clear sign for direction in my life. One of the people in the bible study group suggested that perhaps I’m doing exactly what God intends and that I need to accept it and love the life I have. At the time that I heard that comment, I was put off. I felt the person hadn’t understood the point I was trying to make. But after this long week at work, and a slight attitude adjustment, I have a better understanding of what that person was trying to say to me.
Acceptance. Like patience, acceptance is a virtue, a moral standard of excellence that some of us struggle our whole lives to achieve. One might argue that we are not fully mature until we’ve learned to accept God’s plan for our lives.
I wonder, will I ever reach that level of maturity?