Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Utilities or Groceries

“If you can’t see the bright side to life, polish the dull side.”

One thing that I’ve learned about dealing with adversity is when you’re right in the middle of it, it’s hard to see the proverbial forest because of the trees. Some days are better than others, but when things aren’t going as planned, it’s much easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive. I think that’s probably a truth that applies to life regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Sometimes being happy is a lot of work; It takes effort.

A few months ago I had been working on a project that had all but been funded. I was told that the project was a go, documents were signed and I was waiting to be paid for my services. I needed this project to close just to provide for my family. A lot was riding on it.

I sent my client an invoice and felt like things were starting to look-up. A few days later I got a call from my client. He told me he needed a little time to pay me he didn’t have the money and he needed some time to pay me. He needed 30 days. My back was up against the wall and I didn’t know what to do.

Two days later I’m going through our family finances picking which bills to pay and which ones I can postpone. I realize I only have enough to buy groceries or to pay for the utilities. I don’t have enough for both. At that moment, it was easy to feel sorry for myself and I did. But that didn’t solve my problem. I still had a choice to make. Depending on how I dealt with it, I was either going to make it a really big issue for the kids, or I could make it a small issue. It all depended on how I presented it.

The next night when I got home from work, our water had been turned off. I went out and went grocery shopping. I told the kids that I’d forgotten to pay the bill and that it would be back on in a couple of days. I’m sure the older girls knew I was hiding something but they didn’t let on. We made do with what we had.

In the scope of challenges other people are facing, I know that this is relatively inconsequential. However, all of our struggles are relative to where we are emotionally at that time. What may be a struggle for one person may not be that big of struggle for another. My struggle was the realization that I couldn’t provide the necessities for my family; even if it was only temporary. The blow was to my pride.

In the end what made the difference was we made the choice to get through it.

A few days later I was sitting by myself thinking about that experience. This feeling of relief overcame me. It was as though this enormous weight had been lifted off of my chest, and the thought came to me to “just let it go.” It was a voice that spoke to me. As I thought about it more, the relief I felt became more tangible. It was a real thing, an actual object and not just an emotion.  I wrote that saying, “just let it go” on a little piece of paper that I carry with me everyday so that I don’t forget.

I also realized that the pressure that I was feeling was just as tangible and just as real as the relief. It was a real thing, not just an emotion that I had imagined. I could feel it crushing my chest.

I’m facing one situation, and depending on how I deal with it, it affects me in two very different ways. The situation is difficult, but the outcome is entirely up to me. Ultimately what I have, what we all have is the ability to choose. That is the one constant. Our choices whether they be good or bad are ours. We can choose how we deal with life’s challenges. That is the ultimate freedom. It’s also the ultimate responsibility. My belief is once we accept that responsibility, we become truly free.

As always thanks for reading this blog. Please share this with anyone you think it may help.

Warmest Regards,
Scot Boley


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