Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Season of Change

A Season of Change

It was Christmas of last year. The snow was lightly falling outside. Large flakes were slowly floating down to cover the ground in pure white. We were comfortably sitting inside watching the beauty of this amazing season unfold in front of us.

We certainly didn’t have much. We had just gone through losing our home and we were preparing to file for bankruptcy. The realization that we had to start over was slowly sinking in. But somehow, on that day, things seemed right. Our girls were happy, we were together and as a family unit I felt that we would be able to face our pending challenges and overcome them.

Watching our three daughters adjust to our new reality made me proud. They asked for little and they seemed happier with less.

After they were asleep Michelle and I would talk about how we thought the girls deserved more. How we felt we had failed them. Then the question arose, “Deserve more of what?” The girls certainly hadn’t asked for more. We had imposed a sense of guilt on ourselves for not being able to give them the kind of Christmas we felt we were supposed to provide. As I reflected on that, I understood that I was dealing with a sense of guilt and failure for where my life was currently. I believed that I deserved to be unhappy. I believed I deserved to feel like a failure. Self pity is a harbinger of untold misery.
I also knew that if I didn’t change my thinking, if I didn’t change my perspective, that my emotions would continue to cripple me. I was exactly in the place I had chosen to put myself, and I would continue to be there until I chose differently.

I had to take a step back. I had a choice to look at things differently. I needed perspective. Like all of us in life I had come to a crossroads. My life’s choice was I could either focus on the set-back and the disappointment or look at the gift I was given, the opportunity to change. I had the opportunity to learn and grow and create something new in my life. Circumstance had forced that on me. Was I up to the task? Was I willing to learn from past regrets? Was I willing to forgive myself and move on?

Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “Men live lives of quiet desperation.” How true that is. I know countless people who live by the belief of, “if only.” “If only I had this I would be happy.” Or, “if only this happened I would be happy.” It’s cultural; it’s what we are spooned fed everyday by the entertainment we consume and the moronic celebrity culture we live in.

One absolute in life is we will go through many trials and many disappointments. But ultimately our happiness is our own responsibility.

However, that doesn’t change the fundamental question. Why do we live lives of quiet desperation? I think it’s because we live life in a state of regret or fear. Regret for what could have been, fear of failure. That regret or fear quickly metastasizes into guilt and ultimately a life of frustration and quiet desperation.

This is not to say that there won’t be circumstances forced on some of us that are completely out of our control. It does not minimize the pain or the challenges that will be presented. It also doesn’t change the fact that we are meant to be happy. We are meant to “find joy.” That is a God given blessing........ a God given personal responsibility. No one else can be in charge of your happiness. It is meant to be that way so that we learn to value our personal initiative, our free will.

This Christmas lets look beyond the mark and celebrate it for what it is, a time to be thankful for our God given blessings, not only for what we have but also for what we can become. It’s a time to prioritize and commit to a life that is greater than ourselves. A time to dream of what we can become, what we can accomplish and the differences we can make; the lives we can live. This can truly be a Season of Change.  

As always thanks for reading my blog and please share it with anyone you think it might help.

Merry Christmas and God Bless

Scot Boley

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