Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some Days Are Like That, Even In Australia

Sometimes things go wrong from the start. Whether you view it as a matter of getting up on the wrong side of the bed or use more colorful terms to express your frustrations, there are times when nothing we do comes out the way we plan, no matter how hard we try. And once this kind of day begins, there's really no stopping it. 

I was having one of those days recently, and I couldn't help but think of the children's book, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." From the minute Alexander wakes up, everything misfires. All his best efforts go wrong. And it seems no one cares to hear his side of the story. His response to each of these challenges is to grumble and say "I think I'll move to Australia."  And that's how I felt.

But as a grownup, a more mature response is expected of me (even when my "inner child" denies any responsibility for the situation at hand and screams for just retribution against all my perceived oppressors). So I set aside my plans to visit the Land Down Under, and I thought about the Book of Job, and the barage of diabolical attacks this poor man suffered. I am amazed at how anyone could keep going in the face of one tragedy after another. First he loses his livelilhood when his livestock were destroyed, then his children, then his health. And even his friends believed he was to blame for his own predicament.

In light of such trials, my "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" seemed like nothing. None of the things I hold most dear was taken frome me. So why was I so troubled? And then it hit me. It all came down to one thing -- Pride. How could anyone think that I might be wrong? That I might have missed or overlooked something? That I might not be perfect after all? Now it all makes sense.

Unlike Job, I can assure you I am not always blameless. I do take a shortcut now and then. I do procrastinate, overeat, and make mistakes. Whether I want to admit it or not, I am not perfect -- and moving to Australia won't change that.

So, why should I be surprised that sometimes things just don't go as I had planned or hoped? And why am I shocked that it's possible for my best efforts to collide head-on with someone else's "Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." And worse yet, what if (and let's just say this in hypothetical terms to protect my ultra-sensitive ego), what if there really is  room for improvement in what I've done, despite my best efforts. What then? Am I more special than anyone else? Should I get a "breeze through life with no obstacles" pass? I suppose not.  So, when it comes right down to it, we are all just human. And that means me, too. We have good days and not-so-good days. That's just the way it is.

As Alexander's mother put it:  "Some days are like that, even in Australia."

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