This week: The Importance of AdversityEdited by: ember_rain
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I hesitated to volunteer to do a spirituality newsletter, until one of my children pointed out who better than me. I am the eldest daughter of a church of Christ preacher and a social worker. Growing up, I got to see the best and the worst in a multitude of people from a multitude of places. To come clean, I no longer consider myself a Christian. I do not believe that I have abandoned my path, but rather the path abandoned me. My mother assures me that had my grandmother not convinced my father he wasn't good at anything but public speaking, they would have followed the same path. I am here to share a bit about what my childhood and more often than not, what my father taught me. He is no longer with us, but his message never changed. What kind of a daughter would I be not to share it.
It's one of those things I noticed when my father was preaching. If something was bothering him and he needed to understand it better, he wrote a sermon about it. This is far from a sermon, but perhaps my musings will help you with your writing or even too better understand how you deal with adversity.
Recently, I found myself facing a difficult decision. My perspective on a situation was completely different than that of someone I was working with on a project. Though my perspective was important to me and I wanted her to see it my way, it didn't take very long at all before I realized that we were not going to see eye to eye. Since the project was her baby and I was just helping, I needed to step back.
When my husband, Clanbear and I were talking about it the next day as I dealt with the fall out of not finishing what I started, his response surprised me and made me think. "I'm sorry, Honey. I know how important that was to you and I know its still bothering you."
Was it still bothering me? I mean maybe, if I wanted to go back to old hurts from my childhood where Mom never let me try anything new because, "I never finished what I started." But, I'm forty-one years old. In another four years, Bear and I will have been married longer than my parents 26 years. I figured once I passed that milestone, I could for a moment be childish, stick my tongue out at her and say, "I might not be finished with what I started but I lasted longer than you." As a joke of course. Knowing that... Mom's views of my not being able to finish anything, just aren't important. So the usual wasn't bothering me.
Abandoning those that were counting on my help didn't sit well, but it was better than an all out war for control of the project. Ten years ago, My attitude would have been to pull a "scorched earth" tactics and do just that. The fact I didn't feel the need to do that even though I know, I have the "moral" high ground, if there is such a thing in this situation, surprised me.
Was I not passionate enough about the project? No, I am very passionate about it. So much so, I am trying to find the best way to take on my own version of the project just on a smaller scale.
Was I not dedicated enough to the team? No, I will have opportunities to work with them at a later date and some of them many times.
So what had changed? The only answer to that was me. I am what changed.
Having children taught me when to pick my battles. I have learned to ask the question, "in the bigger scheme of things, does it really matter. " In this case, Yes. My integrity wouldn't allow me to continue with the project if it was going to continue in the direction it was going. To my teammates, maybe, but they would have to decide on their own without my influence, when they saw for themselves what the issue was and needed to make a decision on their own. It wasn't my place to create a scene. After all they are adults who can "do the research" just as I did. They could ask their own questions and come to their own conclusions, without my forcing them to choose.
I no longer need the approval I once did. I actually am happy with who I am and the decisions I make no matter how hard they are.
When asked, "is there anything you would like to go back and redo," my husband always has the same answer.
"Who I am today is based upon the past and the struggles I went through. Do I wish they hadn't happened? Sure. Would I change it now? What would I give up? Which one of my children could I say I don't want to be here? Would I be married to someone else? Would I be as happy? Is it worth the risk of losing it all to find out?"
He leaves it up to the questioner to answer those. I will answer them though. No. I wouldn't go back and change being assaulted at the age of three by a foster uncle. No, I wouldn't go back and change the bullying I experienced in the ninth and tenth grade. No, I wouldn't change, every fight I have ever had with my mother or even my husband. I wouldn't change any of it because those lead to my successes.
So, that is why my decision really doesn't bother me. I am finally happy with who I am.
We all have to learn that lesson. Our characters have to learn that lesson, for that is the true theme that runs through humanity be they real people or fictional ones. Give your characters the chance to learn who they are and to be comfortable with it. It is those challenges you make them face that dictate who they are and I bet if you asked them on a good day, in a quite corner after your story is finished, if they really want you to change it, they will say no because they like who they are.
Just a quick note:}Itchy Water~fictionandverse has left us behind to start a new adventure. She will be greatly missed especially by me and many others who had the chance to get to know this extraordinary woman. If you have never had a chance to read her work, I recommend you do so now. I promise you won't regret it.
We have a whole list of white cases in our membership list. If you have never taken the chance to get to know those that have left us, I highly recommend that you do. Even now that they are gone, maybe especially because they are gone, there are still things we can learn from them.
I love the opening line. It pretty much says it all.
Beautiful poem about Butterflies that makes me smile.
to lose our fear enough to feel comfortable with who we are as a society...That is the dream.
A tribute to a group of women gathered to support our sisters in learning to be comfortable in our own skin.
A beautifully written tribute to loss.
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