Keep Calm and Carry On
Have you ever really, realllllly wanted – even needed – something to happen… and it didn’t?
Of course you have. We wouldn’t be human if we got everything we ever wanted.
But sometimes, it seems kind of cruel, doesn’t it?
I’ve been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the girls. I loved this book – and its sequel – as a child. I thought it rather silly as a twenty-year-old ‘grown-up’. Now, as an almost thirty-two-year-old mother, I think it borders on profound.
In my eyes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a treatise on the evils of greed, gluttony, and selfishness. The hero is none of those things; the other children are all of those things. The hero survives; the others are destroyed by their impulsiveness, obnoxiousness, and covetousness.
They see something, they need to have it, they go out and get it.
They’re not much different than you and I.
We see something, we need to have it, we go out and get it, don’t we?
These past six months I’ve struggled with situational contentment. An issue we’ve prayed for hasn’t changed; a situation we’ve needed to resolve has remained the same. I feel ready to break, and yet, there’s been no give.
I used to believe we’re not given more than we can handle. Now I feel like that can’t be right.
Sure, I’m not the kids in this story. My biggest problem is not whether or not I get an invitation to a chocolate factory, or how much TV I get to watch, or if I’m the world record gum chewer.
My problem is actually a legitimate problem. What I want seems pretty reasonable.
But you can’t always get what you want.
The thing about these seasons where you can’t get what you want is that it makes it very hard to watch other people seem to get what they want. It makes it very hard to hear other people muse about your reality as hypothetical situations –‘if I were you, I’d do this…‘ I want to be teachable. I want to be open. I want to grow. But something I wish I could tell the world, guess what, you don’t have those things. Be happy and stop talking.
For that, and so many other reasons, the last year has been a paradox. Never have I been more blessed by community; never have I been so disgusted with humanity. That’s not necessarily anyone’s fault but mine, and I can’t explain the dichotomy, except to say, we have the best friends in the world, and they help us not be angry at all the garbage.
Last week, one of those people very wisely pointed out to me we all still live like Adam and Eve – surrounded by abundance but consumed with that one tree we can’t have.
I had nothing to say to that, because…
I gotta stop looking at that tree.
We all gotta stop looking at that tree.
So today, I’m going to get up and do the things I need to do. I’m going to take my chemo. I’m going to care for my children. I’m going to clean my house. I’m going to make dinner.
The more I do those things, the less I look at that tree, and the more thankful I am for all of those things I need to do.
We are blessed by abundance. Sometimes we just need eyes to see it.
Perhaps, if we got everything we needed, we’d never see those things.
So, in case any of you are in one of those seasons where you desperately need something to change and, for some bizarre reason, it just won’t, know that there’s at least one other person fighting hard to
keep calm and carry on.
It’s going to be okay. Really. We can do it.
Ready? 3, 2, 1… go.