The eleventh month of my year without complaining draws to a close. This blog, unlike my Saturday Musings(tm), is not intended as a forum merely for telling pleasant tales or depicting images to amuse, entertain, or endear. This blog chronicles a personal journey for me. The goal of the year started as the intention to live complaint-free. Along the way, the goal has morphed almost beyond recognition. Now, rather than merely learning to live complaint-free, I yearn to walk in a state that I can only describe as “grace”.
I turned a corner this week. I’d like to share it with you in the abstract, if you will indulge me. Someone lost patience with me and criticized me for what I consider one of my strongest abilities: tenacity. I realize that a small grey strip separates persistence from obstinance but I walk that line gladly. I’d rather be seen as stubborn from time to time than to surrender. And please, make no mistake: By “surrender”, I do not mean “give in” but “give up”.
“Giving in” means letting others make choices. That has always been difficult for me, indeed. I include that possibility as an element of the change which I strive to embrace. More and more, when someone suggests a course of action, I find myself thinking, Okay sure, why not? and smiling. Amazingly, I care less and less about being the decider.
But I do not wish to give up, as in, quit the fight to move forward towards attainment of my goals. So I navigate that narrow strip between tenacity and bull-headedness. If I stray over the line, so be it.
I suspect that the person who castigated me for my tenacity would, I am sure, classify my choices as cursed pigheadedness without exception. I can accept that. Call me what you will. I operate under the principle that solving problems means working for the outcome. Most of the time, I’m trying to solve problems for other people, including family, friends, and clients. When I love someone and they find themselves twisted in knots, I find the end and start unraveling.
I haven’t stopped doing this. I’m on the phone for people. I take their faces in both my hands and soothe their frowns. When their heartbeat accelerates, I rub their brow. When they burn themselves, I take them to get aloe. if they war with their family, I sit, or stand, or rock, and help them process. At the same time, when I need something, I push until I get it or find a way to meet the need it would have fulfilled without it. Or I find someone who can and will meet my need.
And you know what? I like that about myself. I’m thankful for that quality.
Would I wave a magic wand and make myself a little softer on the edges? Sure. Are there days in my journey when I’ve behaved in ways that I now would not choose? Absolutely. Have I ever knowingly abandoned my values or failed to at least try to help any and every person in my world, starting with each and every person whom I love? No, I have NOT.
So, then, submitted for your consideration. Call me names, say I have failed. Say that I did not rise to every occasion and sink every shot. Say that my qualities don’t appear on your list of what a person should be. Say that I’ve got light-years to grow before I get my wings. But never let it be said that I did not put one-hundred percent of myself into every effort.
I’ve heard that showing up is eighty-five percent of life. If that’s true, then I have the whole one hundred percent, because I show up, stand up, and let myself be counted.
If I am on your side, let anyone be against us, because I am a force with which to be reckoned when I champion a cause.