Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Fall

For every action there is a reaction…that’s a well-known fact. I’m not quite sure if I believe in the whole “butterfly effect” (aka chaos theory), but some days it seems my life encapsulates the sensitive conditions that welcome those dynamic results.

Are we conditioned to believe that for everything good in our lives, there is some equivocal counterpart of bad to partner it? Are we destined to fail as much as we succeed? Is our destiny (or fate) predetermined? I think not. I believe we are faced with a certain amount of challenges as we go through life, and the choices and decisions we make lead us down the next path. Right or wrong, we learn.

Lately, I find myself contemplating the bigger picture. During the course of the last year, I’ve gone through some pretty significant life changes. I've struggled to get to where I am today, and I wear my scars as proudly as I wear my pride. But, sometimes, just when everything is looking up, I find myself waiting for the walls to come crashing in – or the other shoe to fall. I am a healthy combination of an optimist and a realist, with a little bit of cynicism for added flavor. Dream big, I say. I like to think I can inhale the clouds and feel the soil between my toes at the same time. And the cynic in me knows I’m going to be pelted with my share of bird poo and bugs every now and again.

Do people make their own luck, or are coincidences just in their favor? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Winning the lottery is lucky. Earning millions with good old-fashioned hard work and investing wisely is a good example of someone making their own luck. Would winning the lottery be nice? Uh, yeah. But, being able to appreciate the value of a dollar, having worked hard to get ahead, is invaluable. Of course, with my luck I’d win the lottery and get killed in a car accident the next day. See? There’s the cynic you all know and love.

Back to my point…

So, does ‘waiting for the other shoe to fall’ bank on pessimism? Or realism? I am a firm believer that you are what you think. If you constantly harbor negativity with the expectation that bad events will occur and things will fall apart, then guess what, they will. Though, from the realistic point of view, I believe it is only natural to be prepared for things to come. And wise. That’s not to insinuate to embrace an unhealthy foreboding of doom, but rather, to take the good with the bad. Hope for the best, but expect that things will go awry every once in a while. It is usually in those moments that humbleness takes a second to smack us upside the head. And I find myself laughing at life. There is humor around every corner. It is from that laughter that I have learned the most about myself.

Know what I’ve learned?
That I really am strong.
I really am worthy.
My faith is the one thing that keeps me on the straight and narrow.
I appreciate the tiny moments of pandemonium that make life so unique.
And, I have endless amounts of room in my heart to love.

I’m in a great place in my life at present. I’m happier than I’ve been in a really long time. At the same time, I find myself questioning that happiness. Do I deserve it? Hope so. Am I just fooling myself? Maybe. But, oh how lovely are the moments of wonder, joy, appreciation and hope that hover around me; my fear and doubt are slowly being defeated by them. Thanks be to God, for I know He is responsible. All I have to do is turn away from the dark, and He is there in the light. Together with Him, my faith is strong enough to move mountains, or cross the deepest sea. Poetic words, I know, but ordinary phrases just don’t encompass the sheer awe of His love and grace.

It makes sense to couple hope with doubt, love with contempt, strength with weakness, and so on. Judging by my own life experiences, I’ve found that my darkest moments are often those from which I receive the most knowledge – mostly about myself and how far I’m willing to push my capabilities. Revisiting the "chaos theory", I’ve discovered the down that accompanies every up is just God’s little way of keeping us respectful. It’s His way of reminding us that we need Him, and that He is in control.

There are many days I wish I could have a ‘do over’ (yesterday being one of them). A series of unfortunate events – albeit coincidences – causes me to take into consideration all of the things in my life that are good and true. Sometimes it’s healthy to just sit back, shake my head, and have a good laugh at my own expense. The sensitive condition in all of these events is me. Life is the dynamic result. Some days I just have to tighten up my laces and get ready for a wild ride. And at the end of it, instead of waiting for the other shoe to fall, I’m prepared to kick it off and buy a new pair.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist hopes it will change; the realist adjusts his sails.”

Time to go adjust my sails.

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