I’ve been playing with the camera on my phone this week.
One daughter-in-law posts clever collages on Facebook and another posts nifty black and whites. I’ve admired their pictures and wondered how they do it. All I can say is it’s amazing what you find out when you slow down, take a little time and practice.
So in my quest to do a little less wondering and a lot more doing, I came up with some photos of my own.
This has also been a week of difficult conversations with my mother. We come at problems in very different ways. Sometimes it takes several trips around the mountain of understanding before we arrive anywhere near the same spot.
As I struggle with my own issues in an awkward phase of life, she struggles with all that comes with her aging: loss of freedom, physical pain and sometimes loss of hope. She and dad are working on their 70th year of marriage, but what should be joyous is sad. He no longer knows how long he’s been married nor who he’s married to… sometimes.
He regularly mistakes me for hired kitchen help. “How long is your shift today”, and “when do you get to clock out”, he asks.
“It’s pretty much 24/7 work, Dad”. He chuckles and walks away. I know he doesn’t know what 24/7 means. And I’m waiting for the day he asks why I call him “Dad”. I think that will finally make me cry.
I know it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. It’s easy to give in and believe life is unfair. I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. And it’s hard to keep someone from slipping down that slope when they’re determined to go.
So all I could come up with is this:
We all got troubles!
Not one single human being, no matter how rich or poor, educated or not, young or old, faith-filled or non-believer, is exempt from troubles.
How we view those troubles depends on our perspective. Just as the subject in my photograph changes as I apply a different effect, so are the multiple ways we humans see a problem.
Ultimately, no matter your perspective, I believe we have but two choices –
You can take the Easy Road. It is a road where you give in to despair and negativity. It’s the road where you have no responsibility because it’s someone else’s fault. It’s the road where you give in to pain… and then the pain consumes you.
It is an easy road to enter, but it leads to a hard place.
You can take the Challenge Road (my name for it, you may have another). This road takes commitment. On this road you search for beautiful every day. You squeeze out and name every item of gratitude in your life. No matter how you feel, you choose to smile, serve and love. On this road you fall down quite a bit, but you get back up… eventually. It’s important to have cheerleaders on this road who are rooting for you just as you root for them.
This is not an easy road. It’s a no excuses road. But it leads to beautiful.
A major influencer on my life was a sweet, tough, tiny person who took the Challenge Road. I’ll talk about her next time I’m here.